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Robert L. Gushwa 

Volume IV 





This volume is one of a series of five prepared by various authors, 
designed to be useful and instructixe regarding the long history of the 
United States Army Chaplaincy. The emphasis throughout is on how 
Chaplains did their ministry in the contexts of both war and peace. The 
series seeks to present as full and as balanced an account as limitations of 
space and research time permit. The bibliography in each volume offers 
opportunities for further research leading to detailed studies, articles, 
monographs, and perhaps even volumes regarding persons, developments, 
and events of the period concerned. No attempt has been made to express 
any specific point of view or to make policy recommendations. The con- 
tents of each volume represent the work of the individual author and do 
not represent the official view of the United States government. 

An effort has been made to make this volume as complete and factual 
as possible. In the light of new information and developments, there may 
be modifications required concerning the material, interpretations, and 
conclusions presented. Such corrections, additions, and suggestions as 
readers may have are welcome for use in future revisions ; they should be 
addressed to : 

Director of Support 

US Army Chaplain Center and School 

ATTN: Historian 

Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island, NY 10305 

Chaplain Robert L. Gushwa, a Regular Army chaplain of the United 
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., is the writer of this volume. Chaplain 
Gushwa was born and educated in Indiana. He served as pastor of civilian 
congregations in Kentucky, Florida, and Ohio, before entry on active 
duty in 1964. He has served at Fort Eustis, Virginia; Fort Bragg, North 
Carolina; Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Wadsworth, New York; and 
overseas, in Germany and Vietnam. He has been awarded the Bronze 
Star with V device and Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Servdce Medal, 
the Army Commendation Medal with second Oak Leaf Cluster, and 
the Master Parachutist Badge. 



Charles Dickens wrote in A Tale of Two Cities : 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of 
wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was 
the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of 
despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were 
all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. . . .^ 

Written in 1859, these words characterize and give the title to this 
volume. The twenties, thirties, and forties were the best and worst of 
times for America and the times were reflected in the ministry of the 

"The decade of the twenties is the most sharply defined decade in 
American history" wrote Sydney Ahlstrom.' The decade was marked by 
war at one end and depression at the other. Chapter I, "From World War 
to Market Crash," describes the ministry of Army chaplains, and the 
growth toward an upgraded professionalism within the institution dur- 
ing the period. 

The 1930's, whether seen as the Great Depression or the New Deal, 
had no precedent in United States history. Chaplains ministered not 
only to the small peacetime Army, but also to young men in the Civilian 
Conservation Corps in a new opportunity for expanded service. Fear, 
hunger, and desperation became facts of life as privation spread across 
the country. Part of the nation was committed to pacifism, isolation, and 
indecision, even as war clouds gathered. Others saw a revival of spirit, 
a nation of rugged individualists pulling together with a sense of urgency 
that took on a religious aspect. Chapter II, "Marking Time While Pre- 
paring, the 1 930's," chronicles the chaplains' ministry in that decade. 

On 7 December 1941 America was thrust into the war she sought 
to avoid, yet for which she was preparing. From less than 200 in the 
twenties, the number of chaplains on active duty reached nearly 9,000 
during World War II. It was a time of unprecedented opportunity for 
service, accomplished amidst the death and destruction of modern war- 
fare that culminated in the ushering in of the atomic age. It was indeed 
the best and worst of times. Chapters III and IV describe the defensive 
and offensive stages of World War II. The division of material into two 

vi THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

chapters reflects not only the mihtary situation, but a difference in the 
focus of ministry as it appHed to training, and later combat settings. 

' The approach used is chronological. While decades of history are 
artificial measurements, there is evidence that the decades discussed fell 
into discernible patterns, markedly different from one another. Further, 
a conscious attempt has been made to show what was happening in the 
country, how it affected the Army, and in turn how that affected the 
ministry of the chaplain. The people to whom the chaplain ministered, 
the milieu in which he found himself, the events, and the popular think- 
ing and interpretation of those events, varied greatly from decade to 
decade. The chaplain's role in the 1920's was not the same as in the 

An institutional history of the chaplaincy could be written "from the 
top down," as though the significant events controlled from the top, by 
the Secretary of War, the large denominations, the Congress, and the 
Chief of Chaplains, and managed to filter down to the individual soldier 
through his or her chaplain. Such a history may some day be written. But 
this is not it. The historical facts as uncovered in my research simply do 
not support the view that "top" people, gifted with prophetic foresight, 
planned ahead for the exigencies of war, or deeply felt the spiritual 
needs of soldiers and devised an adequate plan for recruiting, training, 
and equipping chaplains to minister. The use of the term "corps" when 
applied to chaplains of this period was a troublesome term, without of- 
ficial status. Like "Topsy," it just grew. Comparing the institution of the 
chaplaincy to the artillery, infantry, or armour branches is to compare 
apples with oranges. Their corps histories are shaped by strong com- 
manders, strong leadership, tested principles, "vested interests" in intra- 
service rivalries for money, equipment and importance. The concept of 
humility is foreign. 

An alternate view of the history of the chaplaincy is to write from 
the bottom up, a "grass roots" view as seen through the eyes of the chap- 
plains who ministered to men bored to death at isolated camps and train- 
ing areas, frightened at embarkation points and battlefields, sick and in- 
jured in hospitals and aid stations, isolated in stockades and prisoner of 
war camps. Counseling in scrounged offices, preaching in chapels made 
out of packing cases, hitchhiking from camp to camp and site to site when 
no official transportation was provided, mimeographing "hymnbooks" 
at their own expense, watching fine officers zoom past them in rank while 
they went through the war without a promotion — indeed, in some cases 
embarrassed by the fact that they had to have rank at all — these men 
represented a different perspective and history than the view from the top. 


The chaplaincy of this period was not a proud corps with distin- 
guished graduates of West Point leading it to glory. Sometimes unwanted, 
unappreciated, misunderstood, and viewed with either suspicion, or a 
smile, in some quarters, and as unnecessary in others, the chaplaincy was 
a branch like no other in the Army. It had few measurable yardsticks to 
determine its effectiveness. Its members viewed themselves as clergymen 
in uniform rather than as professional soldiers. The branch insignia on 
their uniforms were not weapons, but symbols of love and peace. 

As a chaplain passed a group of trainees who were being harangued 
by their sergeant, the sergeant paused and said, "Men, there goes a chap- 
lain. He is your friend. Your only friend." Perhaps only friends of the 
"friend" can truly appreciate the uniqueness of this history. The approach 
of this volume is grass roots. The story of the branch is that of individuals 
ministering to other individuals in loyalty to God and country. 

The volume does not concentrate on American history, although it 
is impossible to write about chaplains and ignore the climate of events 
that surrounded them. Certainly this book is not a military history nor 
theological history of the thinking in xA.merican churches, synagogues, and 
seminaries. It does not pretend to be exhaustive to the point of detailing 
what each chaplain contributed in his corner of a global dispersion ; many 
survivors of this period will look in vain for their names, or even a mention 
of their unit. 

The book is not an apologia to justify the chaplaincy as an institution. 
There are no "muck raking" exposes, no debunking of those no longer 
around to defend themselves. Neither is there an attempt to add glory to 
the record, for it is strong enough to stand on its own. 

The purpose of my study is to look at the ministry of Army chaplains 
during three diverse decades. Note the word "ministry." What did chap- 
lains do? What did they consider to be their role? How were they seen by 
others? What were their problems and successes? Who supported them? 
Who opposed them and why? How did the chaplains adjust their presenta- 
tion of the ancient gospel to the modern world? Sometimes they succeeded 
beyond their own knowledge. Sometimes they were apparently unaware 
of the events sweeping around them. At times they were prophetic, and 
on occasion selflessly heroic. Looking at past events with the detachment 
of more than fifty years, as the story began, to a diminishing perspective 
of thirty years as it ended, may make the participants seem naive, and the 
historian brilliant in his hindsight. But the recurrence and reemergence 
of what seem almost cyclic questions may shed a humbling light on what 
we are about now, in spite of the comment that the only lesson history 
teaches is that it teaches no lesson. My purpose then, to borrow a seventies 

viii THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

phrase, is to tell it like it is, or failing that, to at least try to tell it like it was. 
As Gore Vidal in a New York Times interview said "In a way, I have noth- 
ing to say, but a great deal to add." ^ 

When Dwight D. Eisenhower served as President he said, with a 
good deal of military experience on which to base it, ". . . the consecration, 
the diligence, the courage and the resourcefulness of its chaplains is part 
of the Army's proudest tradition." ^ To the chronicle of that tradition I 
am happy to add this volume. 

I am grateful to many individuals who helped contribute to the fol- 
lowing pages. Many retired chaplains shared their experiences through 
questionnaires, interviews, and correspondence. Appreciation is extended 
to the personnel at the National Archives. The Washington National Rec- 
ords Center, The Presbyterian Historical Society, The New York City 
Library, The Office of The Army Chief of Chaplains, and The Library of 
the command and General Staff College. Individuals who were especially 
helpful and deserve to be singled out for thanks include : Robert Spurrier 
Boege of the Library of Congress; Chaplain (COL) Dick J. Oostenink, 
USAR, Librarian of the United States Army Chaplain Center and 
School; Chaplain (LTC) James H. Young, who prepared extensive re- 
search files for this volume; and Chaplain (COL) Earl F. Stover, whose 
guidance on research techniques was invaluable. Chaplain (COL) Wil- 
liam E. Paul, Jr., edited, proofread, conferred and guided about, and con- 
tributed to this volume immeasurably. Finally, thanks to Mrs, Rita A. 
Harris, for typing and retyping the manuscript. And to the Composing 
Room staff: Mr. Joseph De Fazio, Mrs. Ana M. Buther, Miss Connie 
Hanlon, and Mrs. Paula McShane. 

Fort Wadsworth, New York Robert L. Gushwa 

28 October 1977 Chaplain (LTC), USA 


'Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, (New York: E. P. Button, 1972), p. 1. 

"Sydney E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People, (New Haven and London: 

Yale University Press, 1972), p. 895. 

'^ New York Times, 24 February 1976, p. 30. Interview by Alvin Shuster. 

* Rosemarian V. Staudacher, Chaplains in Action, (New York: Farrar, Strauss & Cudshay, 1962), 

p. 12. 


This publication contains copyrighted material. 

THE 1920's 


The Mood of the Times 1 

Effects Upon the Army 2 

Demobilization, Occupation, and Immediate 

Duties 3 

Reorganization 4 

The "Organized" Chaplaincy 5 

The Chief of Chaplains 8 

Further Steps Toward Organization 12 

Reserve and National Guard Chaplains 13 

Selection and Appointment 15 

The Chaplain School 16 

Other Training 19 

Activities of Chaplains 21 

Educational Duties 25 

Foreign Service 26 

The Pacifist and Constitutional Opposition .... 27 

The Insignia of Grade Question 28 

Further Relationships of Church and Chap- 
laincy 32 

Citizens Military Training Camps 35 

Equipment and Assistants 38 

Memorials of World War 1 40 

A Chaplain Is Pardoned 41 

Minorities 42 

Evaluation 43 






The New Deal 49 

Rock Bottom for the Army 51 

The Pacifist Tempest Grows 51 

A Reduction in Force Contemplated 57 

The CCC and the Chaplaincy 58 

Problems of the CCC and Its Demise 68 

Natural Disasters 69 

Chapels 71 

Institutional Developments and Setbacks 72 

The Chiefs of Chaplains 74 

Activities of Chaplains 77 

The Close of a Decade 79 

Evaluation 80 


Beginnings 91 

Steps Toward War 92 

Thinking Within the Church 93 

Indorsing Agencies Prepare 96 

Qualifications of Chaplains 98 

A Day of Infamy 101 

Combat Comes to the Chaplains 102 

The Wartime Chief 104 

The Chaplain School Reactivated 107 

Additional Training Ill 

The Jumpers 112 

The Army Builds Chapels 113 

Wartime Ministry — Defensive Phase 117 

Specialized Ministry 121 

The Four Chaplains 127 

The Growing Clarity of Role and Status 1 30 




The Military Situation — Offensive Phase 141 

Continued Administrative Developments 142 

In God We Trust 145 

The Wartime Ministry — Continued 147 

The Weather Prayer 156 

Meanwhile ... In the Pacific 157 

"They Also Serve" 164 

The Ministry to Prisoners of War 166 

The Execution of a Private 167 

The Last Mass Execution in the US 167 

Bibles in World War II 168 

Other Literature 172 

Distinguished Visitors 173 

Helping Agencies 1 74 

Chaplains' Assistants 175 

Conscientious Objectors 177 

Popular Religion — Foxholes and Athiests 178 

The Final Days of War 180 

Evaluation 185 

Epilogue 198 

General Index 200 

Index of Proper Names 203 

Chiefs of Chaplains and Deputies : 1 920- 1 945 . . 206 

Appendix A. Activities of Chaplains, 1926 

B. Statistics of Religious Services 207 

C. Denominational Breakdown of Serving Chap- 

lains in World War II 208 

D. Course of Instruction at US Army Chaplain 

School (1942) 211 

E. Course of Instruction — US Army Chaplain 

School (1945) 212 

F. Commandants of the Chaplain School 213 

G. 1920-1945 Locations of the Chaplain School. . 214 
H. Battle Deaths Between 7 December 1941 and 

31 December 1946 Inclusive 215 

I. Summary of Chaplains' Activities (1 July 

1943-30 June 1944) 218 

Bibliography 219 

Index ix 


From World War to Market Crash — The 


The Mood of the Times 

"The decade of the twenties is the most sharply defined decade in 
American History. Marked ofT by the war at one end and the depression 
at the other, it has a character of its own — ten restless years roaring from 
jubilation to despair amid international and domestic dislocation," wrote 
Sidney E. Ahlstrom.' He said conservatives viewed it as the Jazz Age, a 
time of corruption and excess; liberals saw it as an order dominated by 
business men that was bankrupt ; religiously oriented critics saw it as a 
tragic display of obscurantism, superficiality, complacency and futile con- 
flict. Furious controversies, great debates, and wild fulminations were the 
order of the day. And nearly all of this conflict was part of the nation's re- 
ligious history, either because the churches w ere acti\e participants, or 
because events impinged on church life.^ 

Catching the mood of anger that pervaded the period Lucien Price 
wrote, "Those flush years 1919 to 1929, had been angry years. People, even 
people ^vho had been poor and then found themselves with more money 
than they had ever expected to have in their lives, were discontented." ^ 

People had margins of ease, leisure, and convenience which past 
training didn't prepare them to use constructively. They were bored, dis- 
appointed, and finally bitter. In the newspapers, magazines, and books of 
the period, writers delighted in firing broadsides of criticism. Times were 
never so flush. Few observers of the international scene predicted war. Yet 
people were angry. What ailed them? Price contended they lacked some- 
thing to live for more important than themselves, their families, property, 
and occupations— they lacked, in one word, religion. 

Cynicism prevailed. A generation of youth saw its idealism exploited 
and betrayed by World War I. Education became more important than 
religion. The church didn't save the world from war. Perhaps education 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


2 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

could. For the first time in history a great nation tried to educate, not 
alone an elite, but the whole mass of its people.^ 

After each war anti-militarism and pacifism have affected popular 
thinking. The memory of the most recent war, fought with modern 
weapons, led to the belief that it was "the war to end all wars." It was a 
firmly held conviction that war was now so devastating and terrible that no 
enlightened people would consider it as an instrument of foreign policy. 
Military preparedness, therefore, was an alien concept. The Army was on 
its own, without popular interest or support. 

Effects Upon the Army 

Soon after the armistice of November 1918 the War Department 
urged Congress to establish a permanent Regular Army of nearly 600,000 
and a three month universal military training system that would allow for 
rapid expansion of this force to meet the requirements of a new major 
war. The Congress reflected the mood of the American public and re- 
jected these proposals. American Military History states, "It was hard to 
believe that the defeat of Germany and the exhaustion of the other Euro- 
pean powers did not guarantee that there would be no major war on land 
for years to come." ^ Although the possibility of war with Japan was rec- 
ognized, American leaders assured themselves that such a war, if it hap- 
pened at all, would be primarily naval in character. Hence, there was no 
need for a large Army. The fundamental factor in the military policy of 
the United States for the next twenty years was reliance on the Navy as 
the first line of national defense. 

America's decision not to join the League of Nations, and therefore 
to reject participation in an active and co-operative world security system 
to maintain peace, was another basic factor that determined the character 
and composition of the Army between world wars. The principal concern 
of the War Department at this time was manpower to fulfill even the lim- 
ited peacetime mission assigned to it. Salaries were low, minorities were 
consciously segregated, the economy was expanding, the demobilization 
from World War I was rapid. Manpower was a more keenly felt need 
than materiel. The belated production for World War I left huge stocks 
of equipment on hand.'^ 

Demobilization, Occupation, and Immediate Duties 

Planning for demobilization began only a month before the end of 
the war. With the end of the fighting almost all officers and men in the 
Army became eligible for discharge. In the first full month of demobiliza- 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


tion the Army released about 650,000 officers and men, and within nine 
months it released nearly 3,250,000.' At the end of the war there were 
2,363 chaplains; within 6 months the number on active duty dropped to 
1,200, and a short time later to 1 25, the number of Regular Army slots. Of 
the 1 25 on active duty in 1922, 33 were overseas. Only five were authorized 
for Air Service fields. The authorization at the time granted one chaplain 
to 1,152 military personnel. Compared to other branches the reduction 
of chaplains was a bit slower because many commanders requested their 
retention overseas for morale purposes, and the hospital ministry to the 
wounded was too essential to be curtailed. There were only thirty Regular 
Army chaplains before World War I, so that retention of 125 in peace- 
time was a new record level. By the end of 1919 the active Army was re- 
duced to a strength of about 19,000 officers and 205,000 enlisted men and 
was again a Regular volunteer force.* 

At home during 1919 and 1920 Army forces continued guarding the 
border of Mexico, required by revolutionary disturbances in that country. 
The lack of National Guard forces (not yet organized) meant that the 
active Army also supplied troops on numerous occasions, until the sum- 
mer of 1921, to help suppress domestic disorders. Most of these disorders 
arose out of labor disputes and race conflicts in a restless postwar America. 

Overseas, a newly activated United States Third Army moxed into 
Germany on 1 December 1918, to occupy territory between Luxembourg 
and the Rhine River around Coblenz. Nine divisions participated in the 
German occupation during the spring of 1919. An Army regiment, sent 
to Italy before the end of hostilities, participated for four months in the 
occupation of Austria. In Germany, American troops had no unusual dif- 
ficulties with the populace and soon after the peace conferences ended in 
May 1919 the occupation forces were rapidly reduced. They numbered 
about 15,000 at the beginning of 1920. The occupying force was gradually 
withdrawn, and the last thousand troops left for home on 24 January 

A force of 10,000 under Major General William S. Graves had many 
trying experiences in Siberia, to which they were dispatched to rescue 
Czech troops and curb Japanese expansionist tendencies. They were with- 
drawn in April 1920. After the withdrawals from Russia and Germany, 
the only Army forces stationed on foreign soil were the garrison of about 
1,000 men maintained at Tientsin, China, from 1912 until 1938, and a 
similar force dispatched from the Philippines to Shanghai for five months 
in 1932." 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

4 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 


The National Defense Act of 4 June 1920 was a sweeping amend- 
ment of the National Defense Act of 1916; it served as a watershed be- 
tween the old and the modern Army, and governed the military until 
1950. Until 1920, military leaders pressed for a Regular Army that could 
be quickly expanded; instead, Congress established three components of 
the Army: the professional Regular Army, the civilian National Guard, 
and the civilian Organized Reserves (Officers' and Enlisted Reserve 
Corps ) . 

The components were to be so regulated that they could contribute 
their appropriate share of troops in a war emergency. The act acknowl- 
edged the actual practice of the United States throughout its history — 
maintaining a standing peacetime force too small to be expanded to meet 
the needs of a great war, and depending on a new Army of civilian soldiers 
for large mobilizations. The change recognized by the new act made the 
training of civilian components a major peacetime task of the Regular 
Army. Principally for this reason the Army was authorized a maximum 
officer strength of 1 7,726, more than three times the actual officer strength 
of the Regular Army before World War I. The act also provided that offi- 
cer promotions, except for doctors and chaplains, would be made from a 
single list, a step that equalized advancement opportunity throughout 
most of the Army.^" 

The act provided for the continuance of all branches established 
before 1917 and added Air Service, Chemical Warfare Service, and a 
Finance Department. The Tank Corps was absorbed by the Infantry. 

The strengthening of the General Staff under General Pershing as 
Chief of Staff in 1921, his reorganization of the War Department into five 
divisions — G-1 (personnel), G-2 (intelligence), G-3 (training and oper- 
ations), G-4 (supply), and a new War Plans Division that dealt with 
strategic planning and related preparations for the event of war — further 
determined the shape of things to come.'^ 

The field forces in the continental United States were put under the 
command and administration of nine corps areas; those overseas in 
Panama, Hawaii, and the Philippines, under departments similarly 

Reflecting the popular emphasis on education already referred to, 
the Army put far greater emphasis on that as a means of preparedness 
than ever before. The United States Military Academy, The Reserve Offi- 
cer's Training Corps, The Citizen's Military Training Camps, thirty-one 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


special service schools providing branch training, and the forerunners of 
the Command and General Staff College, the Army War College, and the 
Army Industrial College, attested to this interest. 

As sweeping as this new Defense Act was, the Congress never fully 
funded its cost, appropriations leveling off at $300 million a year, or about 
half the cost of fully implementing the act. Manpower levels were sim- 
ilarly short circuited so that actual strength was far belo\v authorized 
strength. Strength leveled off at 12,000 commissioned officers and 125,000 
enlisted men until 1936.'" 

The "Organized" Chaplaincy 

While the rest of the Army was reorganizing, the chaplaincy got or- 
ganized for the first time. Chaplain Paul D. Moody, son of the famous 
evangelist D wight L. Moody, served as an assistant to Bishop Brent in 
France. Brent was then in charge of chaplain work in the AEF. Chaplain 
Moody wrote of the problems of trying to organize the work of the 
chaplains. "The association of these men was the association of peas in a 
bag. Each was independent of e\eryone else and answerable only to his 
commanding officer who might, and again who might not, be sympathetic 
with the idea of the chaplaincy." ' ' 

General Pershing's plan to organize the administration of chaplain 
affairs in 1918 was to have an administrative chaplain's office in his head- 
quarters. Pershing invited Bishop Brent, who was in France as a special 
agent for the Young Men's Christian Association, to work out a plan of 
organization for the chaplains under his command. Bishop Gwynne, Dep- 
uty Chaplain General of the British forces, visited headquarters and ex- 
plained the British Army system. Several of its features were adopted in 
the American plan.'^ 

General Pershing favored the formation of a Chaplain "Corps" with 
Brent as its head. Brent convinced him that a better plan was the appoint- 
ment of a permanent executive committee of chaplains to study conditions 
and make direct recommendations to the general. "It is significant," 
wrote Honeywell "that this committee included a Catholic chaplain, a 
clergyman of a Protestant church with the episcopal plan of organization, 
and one of a body which follows the congregational system." '' Their du- 
ties included assignment of chaplains to units and installations in the 
European Theatre, visits to chaplains in the field, investigation of situa- 
tions affecting the moral welfare of troops, and supervision of the Chap- 
lain's School in France. 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

246-684 O - 78 - 2 

6 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

Brent, as chairman of the group, was frequently called the Chief of 
Chaplains of the American Expeditionary Force. He used this title him- 
self in 1924, and it is inscribed over his tomb at Lausanne. Following the 
war this system of administration was modified and continued among 
occupation forces by the senior chaplain of American forces, Edmund 

Brent's assistant. Chaplain Moody, stated this was the first time in the 
history of the American Army that any attempt was made to organize 
the work of chaplains. However, the three-man board overseas had noth- 
ing whatever to do with the chaplains in the United States, "who re- 
mained for the most part as unorganized at the end as they were at the 
beginning of the war." ^^ 

Lack of organization caused or failed to correct other problems. 
Chaplains did not command or control the others in their profession. 
Command support was essential to any program in a unit or at a post. If 
it was lacking there was literally nowhere a chaplain could turn for help, 
and no one to whom he could appeal. Chaplains felt that they should not 
be rated by other chaplains. Chaplain George Waring feared such an ar- 
rangement would hamper individual creativity and cause friction. (His 
concerns are detailed in Volume HI of this series. ) Professionally, a chap- 
lain was capable of a more penetrating evaluation than any other officer. 
Chaplain Roy J. Honeywell told of a chaplain who challenged a low effi- 
ciency rating with success on the ground that the rating officer was not 
competent to evaluate him since the officer had never heard him preach. 
One colonel frankly said, "Chaplain, I have given you a high efficiency 
rating because I suppose you have been performing your duties, though I 
have no idea what you are supposed to do." ^' 

The chaplain was orphaned from his denomination. He was re- 
garded by his ministerial brethren as having "left the ministry." The sup- 
portive role of endorsing agencies, chaplain associations, professional 
magazines, public relations with local ministerial associations, interde- 
nominational cooperation and problem solving guidance, and retreats 
aimed at the needs of the military pastor, were yet to come. 

Promotion, which meant so much in the Army, was very slow. Pro- 
motion meant greater authority and more pay, and chaplains, as men of 
the cloth, were theoretically disinterested in such things — so it was 
thought. They could hope for no grade above major. There was no chap- 
lain school, career development, graduate study program, nor clear regu- 
lation covering duties and responsibilities. Additional non-chaplain duties 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


were still expected of them. The pressure to consider themselves officers 
rather than clerg)'men was constant. They became of necessity regimen- 
tally minded, with small inducement to feel responsibility outside their 
own regiments, or posts. ^*^ A Catholic chaplain at one post might "swap 
services" with a Protestant chaplain at another nearby post, but it de- 
pended on local arrangements. There was no one directing a plan of reli- 
gious coverage from the top. 

The gains of organization in France did not apply to chaplains out- 
side the AEF. The rapid demobilization following the Armistice led to a 
rash of morale problems — even to the extent of riot and mutiny. ^^ In the 
period of transition and turbulence from wartime to peacetime, chaplains 
showed more interest in the problems of their men than in organizing 
themselves. Chaplain Emerson E. Swanson was one among many who 
gave special lectures and instructions to men being discharged. He wrote : 

I addressed the men who were being discharged during the month 
regarding their future work as citizens and their relation to the Army. I 
regard the work of getting men back into civil life in the right frame of 
mind as of very great importance to the nation. "° 

Paul C. Dubois said, "all men discharged . . . have attended a lecture 
on the significance of their service and the duties of citizenship." Some 
chaplains included vocational guidance information in their counseling. 
An attempt was made to cooperate with home churches in setting up pro- 
grams to welome back the men \vho served their country."^ 

When the shooting stopped in Europe, the churches, once supportive 
in furnishing chaplains to the Army, wanted them back immediately." 
Since churches indorsed their clergy to the Army they regarded them as 
"on loan" during the national emergency, and expected them back. And, 
like soldiers everywhere after a war, the chaplains wanted to go home. 
Few saw a future for themselves in a military career. Their pessimistic 
look at the future was not without foundation in fact. Fast promotions 
were a part of every war, but not one chaplain was promoted during the 
entire period of World War I.'^ Insignia of grade was removed from the 
uniform of chaplains. The argument was that they were "commissioned" 
by the Lord to preach and a commission from the Army was unnecessary. 
Pershing and Brent believed that if chaplains did not wear the insignia of 
grade, enhsted men would feel closer to them. Only after long years of 
service could a chaplain expect to be a captain, and existing law allowed 
no higher grade than major.'' Even Bishop Brent was not commissioned 
as a chaplain, but as a major in the Adjutant General Corps. Pershing 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

8 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

asked that he be made a Heutenant colonel, but "administrivia" pre- 
vented it."'^ 

Agitation for change was building for some time. One senior chap- 
lain, William Y. Brown, wanted a central administrator for all chaplains 
as early as 1863. But George Waring feared it in 1912."" It was an idea 
whose time finally came. The change, the organization and institutionali- 
zation of the chaplaincy, was brought about by pressure from a number 
of sources. The three-man board, already referred to in the AEF, made 
recommendations for the future of the chaplaincy. The value of supervi- 
sion was so successfully demonstrated that it became a part of the "lessons 
learned" atmosphere after the war. General Pershing pushed for reorgani- 
zation. After World War I and II there was a quickening of interest in 
how much "spiritual damage" had been done to the nation's youth. 
Churches, concerned educators, and parents raised questions as to the 
adequacy of the spiritual ministry afforded to the men in the Army. The 
President, and the Secretary of War, through committees of concerned 
religious leaders, focused on the chaplaincy.'' 

The Chief of Chaplains 

A Senate bill recommended a commission of three, representing the 
major faiths, to administer chaplain affairs. This was changed in confer- 
ence to provide for a single chief of chaplains The Capper Bill became 
law on 4 June 1920. It dealt with the reorganization of the Army and 
created the position of Chief of Chaplains : 

One chaplain, of rank not below that of major, may be appointed 
by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to be 
chief of chaplains. He shall serve as such for four years, and shall have the 
rank, pay and allowances of colonel while so serving.'^ 

A special committee of religious leaders recommended two candi- 
dates, and John Thomas Axton, a Congregationalist, was chosen. His 
reputation as an administrator had been firmly established during the war 
when he served in the New York Port area. He administered the work of 
philanthropic, social, and religious organizations serving the troops em- 
barking for Europe. Axton was a natural born "scrounger" on behalf of 
his men. When a civilian ship was pressed into convoy duty it was found 
to be seaworthy, but barren; Axton came up with everything from deck 
chairs and games to magazines and fiowers. A recreation hall, soldiers 
club, visitors' lounge, and other conveniences materialized under his di- 
rection. Highly praised by commanders, he was awarded the Distin- 
guished Service Medal for his work. His management career began at 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


the age of eighteen when he attended the international convention of the 
Christian Endeavor Society; he maintained a Hfelong interest in the or- 
ganization, and directed its work in the Army during World War II. He 
served for nine years, 1893-1902, as general secretary of the Young Men's 
Christian Association. It was his administrative ability and excellent rep- 
utation of nearly twenty years service as an Army chaplain that made his 
selection and confirmation a good choice. He began his duties as Chief of 
Chaplains on 15 July 1920. He was reappointed in 1924 and served a 
second four-year term."^ 

Axton was born 28 July at Salt Lake City, Utah. He attended public 
school there at Hammond Hall Academy. In June 1901, he was ordained 
a minister of the Congregational Church. Chaplain Axton began his mili- 
tary career on 25 July 1902, when he was appointed a chaplain in the 
United States Army with the grade of captain.^" He served in the Philip- 
pines, on the Mexican border, and in various posts in the United States. 

Chaplain Moody felt that from the establishment of the Chief's 
Office dated much of the improvement within the chaplaincy. Institution- 
alization was not a word totally to be feared as chaplain duties were more 
clearly defined by regulations, official publications, and doctrine. The 
chaplain was freed from serving as canteen officer, postmaster, and ath- 
letic officer. While still answerable to his commanding officer, he had 
the satisfaction of being under sympathetic supervision of more experi- 
enced men in the chaplaincy to whom he could look for guidance and di- 
rection, and in some cases, protection in the discharge of the ministry 
which was peculiarly his. 

The supervision of chaplain activities by a central administrator 
benefited the chaplaincy as a whole. The practice was extended to lower 
echelons. Chaplains with important administrative functions were placed 
in the headquarters of such territorial organizations as corps areas and 
military districts, and of divisions and higher tactical units. They had 
their place in the National Guard and organized reserves, and later, when 
the Civilian Conservation Corps was established, a measure of supervisory 
responsibility was placed upon the senior chaplain in each district. The 
fear of sectarian bias seldom materialized. Chaplain Honeywell wrote, 
"What a chaplain of a widely different faith said of one administrator 
might have been said of most others : 'He leans over backward to avoid 
any favoritism to his own group.' " ^^ 

During eight years as Chief, Axton, an articulate spokesman in his 
Senate committee appearances and staff writings, established the Office 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

10 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

of the Chief of Chaplains, fought the battles to have insignia of grade 
returned to the chaplain's uniform, and to increase the size of the chaplain 
branch, presided over the significant growth in numbers of chaplains in 
the Officers' Reserve Corps, and initiated the practice of visits to the field 
by the Chief. During his administration chaplains were better trained, 
equipped, assigiied, and administered. The Chaplains' School Class Bulle- 
tin of 1926 refered to him as "a most loyal friend and promoter of the 
Chaplains School from its inception, and much of its success is due to his 
interest and support." The Bulletin also revealed that his son, John 
Thomas Axton, Jr., author of a brief history of the chaplaincy, was a chap- 
lain instructor on the faculty of the school that year.'^" 

The Chief's Office at first included three chaplains, three Army field 
clerks, and several civilian employees loaned by the Adjutant General. 
(A.S. Goodyear, one of the Army field clerks, served in the Chief's Office 
until his retirement after Warld War II in the grade of Colonel.) The 
office grew in size and complexity, but a pattern for efficiency, later 
singled out for commendation by the Chief of StaflP of the Army, was 

Axton officiated at the burial of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington 
National Cemetary on 11 November 1921. At a dinner in the Cosmos 
Club to recognize the twenty-fifth anniversary of Axton's Army service, 
a testimonial signed by three hundred reserve chaplains was delivered, 
and read as follows : 

As chaplain of the Reserve Corps, we extend to you, on the occasion 
of your 25th anniversary of service with the Army, an expression of our 
loyalty and friendship and our deep appreciation for all that God has en- 
abled you to do, for our nation, for the men of the Army and for your 
fellow Chaplains, a service which you have ever rendered with unselfish- 
ness and consideration for your associates. 

At the same time he was handed, on behalf of these chaplains, an 
order for a 1928 model Buick sedan.'^ 

The testimonial dinner reflected the regard in which he was held by 
fellow chaplains. Sectarian and dictatorial fears were laid to rest. Chap- 
lains were familiar with the Scriptural injunctions against lording it over 
others, and remembered, "And whosoever will be chief among you, let 
him be your servant." ^* An experiment had worked not only because it 
had the force of law, but because the personality of the man chosen was 
to move with deliberate caution for the chaplaincy. It is also a revealing 
look at an earlier and simpler society, before gifts were forbidden and rela- 
tionships more formalized. After retirement, Axton served as chaplain at 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


Rutgers University until his death.'' He was not only the first Chief, he was 
one of only two who were reappointed for a second full term. 

Chaplain Axton was succeeded by Edmund Pepperell Easterbrook. 
Appointed Chief on 7 April 1928, he served until his retirement for health 
and age on 22 December 1929. Although he was Chief for less than two 
years, another chaplain said of him, "What he was, rather than what he 
did, was his contribution." '' Easterbrook was born in Torquay in Devon, 
England, on 22 December 1865. He attended school in England and 
graduated from Torquay PubHc College. The western shire of Devon 
looks out upon both channels and the wanderlust has long infected her 
people. Easterbrook's mother was born on board a sailing vessel, so it was 
not surprising that in early manhood he looked for a new home beyond 
the sea. He attended Drew Theological Seminary in New Jersey, served 
three pastorates in New York, and became a member of Troy Conference 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, North. From July 1898 to the fol- 
lowing April he served at home or in Cuba as chaplain of New York 
volunteers. This experience impressed him with the opportunities avail- 
able to chaplains in serving soldiers in peace and war. He was appointed 
a chaplain in the Regular Army 31 January 1900.'' He served twice in 
the Philippines during the insurrection there, at various posts in the 
United States, including thirteen years in the Puget Sound forts (Flagler, 
Worden, Casey, etc. ) and was ordered to Europe in the summer of 1918. 
He succeeded Bishop Brent as the AEF chaplain and continued in that 
position throughout the occupation. 

The wanderlust continued to be an enjoyable part of his character. 
He wrote articles and lectured to the troops on his travels through Pal- 
estine, Egypt, and Asia Minor, Australia, Tasmania, Japan, and the 
Philippines. He studied and spoke Spanish, considered himself a good 
hospital chaplain, and served as post librarian and superintendent of 
schools for enlisted men and their dependents. He organized entertain- 
ments, including a minstrel troupe. His character building lectures 
fathered the Character Guidance program."*^ Two memorial windows 
in the historic Church of the Centurion, Fort Monroe, Virginia, were 
presented to the church and garrison by Easterbrook's five children in 
memory of their parents.'^ 

Julian E. Yates succeeded Chaplain Easterbrook 23 December 1929. 
Chaplain Yates was born at Williams Mills, North Carolina, 23 October 
1871. He was educated at Wake Forest College, North Carolina, where 
he earned the degrees of A.B., and A.M. He gained the degree of Th.B. 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

12 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

from the University of Chicago. Yates was appointed a chaplain 13 
March 1902. He served in the Philippines and France; and at Forts 
Leavenworth, Terry, McHenry, Howard, Hancock, Adams, Stuart, 
Eustis, Myer, and Oglethorpe in the United States. His duties in Europe 
and at Fort Myer caused one statistically minded biographer to point 
out that Chaplain Yates held the record for interments; 1,614 in Brest, 
and 2,902 at Arlington. He wrote a training manual under Axton's 
direction. The Chaplain, His Place and Duties, and was responsible for 
the Army's efforts in the assembling of The Army and Navy Hymnal. 
During his administration as Chief, the reserve section was steadily in- 
creased and greatly improved in esprit de corps, The Chaplain's As- 
sociation was launched, and The Army Chaplain magazine began 

Further Steps Toward Organization 

A proposal that the chaplains be established as a corps was favored 
by General Pershing. Advanced by the War Plans Division in 191 7, it was 
approved by the Secretary of War, but Congress took no action at that 
time. A bill to establish such a corps passed the Senate in 1920, but this 
provision was voted out of what finally became the National Defense Act 
of that year. Subsequent legislation used the phrase "Corps of Chaplains," 
and this could be interpreted as establishing the corps by implication. 
So could an act of 21 November 1941 "to constitute an Army Chaplain's 
[sic] Corps with a brigadier general as Chief" had not the specific provi- 
sion for a corps been deleted from that part of the bill governed by the en- 
acting clause. (The officer Personnel Act of 1947 and the Army Organiza- 
tion Act of 1950 leave no doubt that the chaplains no longer constitute a 
corps, if they ever did.)*^ Unlike all other corps, chaplains held no com- 
mand positions and the need to be organized even into a branch met with 
resistance. The question involved certain practical considerations. It had 
been urged for years that an enlisted branch of the Chaplain's Corps be es- 
tablished so that assistants might be especially trained for this service as 
a career. 

Pershing, in his capacity as Chief of the Army, in 1923 called a num- 
ber of the nation's leading clergymen to a Conference on Morale and 
Religious Work in the Army. In greeting the members of this conference 
he said : 

This conference has been called with the hope and expectation that 
you leaders in the churches and welfare organizations will aid us in devis- 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


ing and carrying forward an intensified program for the Army along 
moral and religious lines — a program the whole purpose of which shall 
be to keep soldiers true and strong and steady.^" 

This statement not only reflected the concern of parents, educators 
and religious leaders mentioned earlier, but it put emphasis on the role 
of the chaplain as one who steadied the soldier to do a soldier's job. The 
conference made a number of specific recommendations which included 
the continuance of a Chaplain School, publication of a manual for chap- 
lains, a study to be made of equipment needs, the building of chapels, and 
the organization of a chaplains' corps so that every soldier would have 
the services of a chaplain. In reference to the status of chaplains, it 
recommended : 

That the Congress of the United States so legislate that the grades in 
the Chaplain's Corps shall include the rank of colonel, and that advance- 
ment be placed upon an equality with other noncombatant branches of 
the Army. Also that the grade of Chief of Chaplains be in accordance 
with the heads of the other departments of the military service.^^ 

The conference commended the War Department for initiating the 
periodic visits of the Chief of Chaplains to military installations and 
urged that the various denominations establish an intimate working re- 
lationship with their respective chaplains and give them whatever moral 
and other support might be feasible.*^ Ultimately, most of the confer- 
ence's recommendations became realities. The interest of churchmen in 
their clergy in uniform had far reaching implications. Catholic, Protes- 
tant, and Jewish leaders again and again lobbyed on Capitol Hill for a 
stronger chaplaincy. Closer association of endorsing agencies led to higher 
standards and requirements before an applicant was approved to the 
Army as a chaplain. 

Reserve and National Guard Chaplains 

A development ranking in importance with the creation of the Office 
of the Chief of Chaplains, was the establishment and development of an 
effective reserve program. This was suggested as early as 1917 by the Sur- 
geon General. ^^ From earliest times militia chaplains were locally chosen, 
many of them for a single year, though some were reappointed. The rule 
that only those Federally recognized could be called into Federal service 
established high standards for chaplains of the National Guard. They 
were encouraged to apply for a parallel commission in the Officers' Re- 
serve Corps.^*^ 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

14 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

The first chaplains to receive reserve appointment were 1 00 students 
of the Chaplain School who graduated after the Armistice. Chaplains of 
the National Army who had served in the war were invited to apply for 
commissions in the Regular Army or Officers' Reserve Corps. By 1925, 
over 1,100 accepted Reserve commissions." Their commissions had to be 
renewed every five years and retention and promotion depended on con- 
tinued training through correspondence courses and summer camps. 

Those chaplains who had not served on active duty were required to 
be college and seminary graduates between 21 and 60 years of age. In 
1931 the upper limit was reduced to 35.'^ The Chief reported that pro- 
curement was hampered by this change. Mobilization plans of 1925 called 
for a goal of 1,870 Regular Army and Reserve Chaplains, a goal which 
was not reached. Axton blamed both the reduction in age and the pacifist 
movement for this failure. Writing to the Adjutant General to raise the 
baron age, he said: 

In view of the pacifist tendency of many leaders of religious work it 
seems especially resirable that when outstanding clergymen are anxious 
to express . . . approval of national defense plans ... by identifying 
themselves with the organized Reserves, no bar to appointment should be 
raised until such time as the complete number required by mobilization 
plans has been reached.'*® 

The Chief didn't emphasize the importance of training clergymen 
for instant service in the event of national emergency; if he had, whether 
his arguments would have been more effective is a matter for conjecture. 
The wisdom of having a ready reserve pool of chaplains was not revealed 
for another decade. There simply was no record of such contingency plan- 
ning, doubtless because it was alien to the thinking of the period. In the 
early 20's it was believed that aggressive militarism must surely be a thing 
of the past. Eisenhower told of the reaction among industrialists when 
he tried to suggest contingency planning to them: "It was difficult to 
arouse any interest at all. There was not going to be a war, they felt." ^° 
This widespread feeling made adequate training for Reserve chaplains a 
problem. Among them were bishops, professors, secretaries of boards and 
agencies, and pastors of large and small parishes. Most of them were busy, 
and some found it all but impossible to be away from their pastoral duties 
for many days at a time. It was a matter of choosing priorities, and the 
immediate, pressing needs of the pastorate won out over preparations 
for defense that appeared unnecessary. 

Since some reservists were graduates of the 1918 Chaplain School, 
and some had no active duty time, minimum training requirements were 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


established for those who would remain eligible for assignment and pos- 
sible active duty. A training plan developed in the Chief's office contem- 
plated 2 weeks of summer training camp duty each year. But the nation 
also had its priorities, and funds were seldom available for all who wished 
to attend; some even volunteered to serve without pay. Many Regular 
chaplains conducted brief schools for Reserve chaplains near their sta- 
tions; but the chief agency for the military education of chaplains of the 
reserve components was the correspondence course developed by the 
Chaplain School and administered by the corps areas and comparable 
units. ^^ 

Selection and Appointment 

Clergymen seeking appointment as chaplains in the Regular or Re- 
serve components were required to be indorsed by some authorized ecclesi- 
astical body. The first legislation requiring such indorsement was the Act 
of 17 July 1862. The Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in Amer- 
ica established the General Committee on Army and Navy Chaplains 
early in World War I, and it continued to be the coordinating body and 
indorsing agency for much of protestantism. The Military Ordinariate, 
and the Jewish Welfare Board performed similar functions for Catholic 
and Jewish applicants. AR 605-30 ga\e specific guidance to applicants : 

Practically every denomination has a commission or committee or 
individual with authority to act in cases of this kind. These agencies now 
of record are as follows : 

a. For the Protestant Episcopal Church, the Army and Navy Com- 
mission of the Protestant Episcopal Church, 281 Fourth Avenue, New 
York City. 

b. For the Roman Catholic Church, the Chaplain Bishop, Catholic 
Army and Navy Chaplains, Ordinariate, 110 East 12th Street, New 
York City. 

c. For Jewish rabbis, the chairman of the Jewish Welfare Board, 
352 Fourth Avenue, New York City. 

d. For the Unitarian Church, the president of the Unitarian So- 
ciety, 25 Beacon Street, Boston, Mass. 

e. For the Christian Scientist Church, Committee on Publication 
of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, 236 Huntington Avenue, Boston, 

f. The General Committee on Army and Navy Chaplains of the 
Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, Woodward Build- 
ing, W^ashington, D.C., functions as the liaison agency for all denomina- 
tions not mentioned above. 

To comply with the law a candidate must obtain, through the ap- 
propriate agency, the official appro\al of his denomination before he may 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

16 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

be considered for appointment in the Army. Failure to do this will mean 
delav and possible rejection, making way for other applications that have 
been filed in the proper way."^ 

Applicants then appeared before an Army board which reviewed 
their indorsements and quahfications, and selected the best qualified for 
commissions. At first this was a responsibility of the Adjutant General's 
office, but selections were transferred to the Chief of Chaplains' office due 
to the complexity of the "quota system" within denominations. In select- 
ing clergymen for service as chaplains, the primary objective was to pro- 
vide satisfactory services of worship and other religious observances for 
the greatest possible number of military personnel. Based upon the re- 
ligious census of 1916, 98.2 percent of any authorized chaplains were 
divided among 22 religious bodies determined by each group's member- 
ship figures. The remainder were divided up among churches too small 
to qualify for a chaplain space in the Army. The small number of Regular 
Army chaplains required their selection from the larger denominations, 
but appointments in the Reserve Corps were made without reference to 
quotas. The quotas were revised regularly. on the basis of the latest 
census. ^^ 

Chaplain George Ford, Secretary of the Chaplain School, saw se- 
lection as the most urgent need in upgrading the quality of the chaplaincy. 
He said: 

We got men whom you could tell would never make it in the chap- 
laincy. They lacked common sense, a sense of humor, and the ability to 
mix with soldiers in a free way. If soldiers found out they could upset a 
chaplain by using profanity they would increase it in his presence. There 
are things you had to overlook, and things you could not. Knowing which 
was which made all the difference. Many of these clergymen were good 
moral men, but they couldn't relate to soldiers. Better selection processes 
would have made a stronger chaplaincy." ^* 

The Chaplain School 

Chaplain training had a specific meaning within the Army, The 
Army did not teach men to be clergymen; that was the responsibility of 
the seminary, the pastorate, and the requirements of the individual de- 
nominations. Army schools for chaplains, doctors, lawyers, and other 
qualified professionals had the responsibility of training civilian profes- 
sionals to become Army professionals. How to wear the uniform, march, 
and salute; customs of the service; organization and chain of command; 
the use of special equipment ; responsibility for those of other faiths ; func- 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


tioning within the institution; these were the training tasks of the service 
school for chaplains. 

For many years chaplain training consisted of placing new chaplains 
in the office of an experienced colleague for the first few months of an 
initial assignment. The new chaplain was not assigned to the experienced 
man, nor was there any "commander" relationship between them; it was 
simply a form of on-the-job training. It was a hit and miss proposition, 
narrowly limited, and seldom gave new men the balanced introduction 
to their duties that later assignments required. 

In November 1919a board of 5 chaplains, including 3 who were ac- 
tive in training during the war, convened in Washington to consider train- 
ing plans. This group recommended the establishment of a permanent 
school to conduct a 5 -month basic course twice each year and to develop 
an advanced course later. Its stated purposes were to train chaplains to 
serve men of other denominations ; prepare them as Army officers so they 
could mingle with others on an impartial level; save them from embar- 
rassing blunders by teaching them Army regulations and customs; pre- 
pare them to serve as defense counsel through familiarity with military 
law; let them learn from more experienced chaplains; rub elbows with 
those of different faiths; help "rid individuals of mannerisms and de- 
fects"; standardize activities on a high level; and give chaplains an ap- 
preciation of the military institution and its history. ^^ 

Orders for implementing the board's recommendations were issued 
by the Adjutant General on 28 January 1920, and the school opened at 
Camp Grant, Illinois, on 15 May with a staff of 5 chaplains, 10 other offi- 
cers, and a student body of 15, a ratio of one to one.^*' 

Chaplain George B. Ford served as the school's first secretary. He was 
graduated from Niagara University with the class of 1908, entered St. Jo- 
seph's Seminary at Dunwoodie and was ordained to the priesthood in the 
archdiocese of New York in June of 1914. He served as a curate in Monti- 
cello and New York City, and entered the Army in 1918.'"' In February of 
1976, at the age of 90, an interview revealed that he was amazingly clear 
in his recall of events, names, and the flavor of the times. 

He recalled reporting to Camp Grant, where the Commanding Gen- 
eral handed him a check for $10,000 and told him to go to Marshall Field 
in Chicago and buy the furniture, desks, and equipment necessary to set 
up the school ! Obviously the requirements of paper work have changed 
in the past fifty-plus years. 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

18 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

There was a chaplains' school of sorts during the war, in France; 
later, one was set up in the United States. Both were intended as "quick- 
fix" remedies to wartime problems. The 1920 school was the first peace- 
time school. All chaplains commissioned since 1 January 1913 — except 
graduates of the wartime school — were eligible. AR 350-150, 20 Septem- 
ber 1920, outlined the course of study and provided that the commanding 
officer of the post be commandant, and a chaplain selected by the War 
Department serve as director. Twenty-one subjects were named in the 
curriculum, a total of about 280 hours of instruction.^^ Physical Training 
and Map Reading were two of the student "favorites" recalled by Chap- 
lain Ford. "The training days started at 6 A.M. and continued until 10 
P.M. The men were kept busy." 

His opinion of the school was that : 

We (the faculty) learned a lot after the first year. Some of the 
courses, like equitation, were useless. Most of the courses were taught by 
line officers who were fine men, but knew nothing about the chaplaincy. 
To offset that we invited prominent clergymen from the community to 
address the students, liut they knew nothing about the Army. What was 
needed was a way of imparting practical, applicable, common sense to 
men with good intentions but no experience. The new men welcomed 
the school, but those who had been in awhile, and were ordered to return, 
resented it. 

Correspondence shuttled back and forth between the Director and 
the Chief of Chaplains concerning modification of the curriculum. More 
practical work, related to the chaplains' everyday duties, and more in- 
struction of chaplains by chaplains resulted as continuing sessions "edu- 
cated" the faculty. The course was expanded to 6 months in 1922. Later 
sessions were about three months long, and the last two did not exceed six 

The school remained at Camp Grant during four sessions but was 
moved to Camp Knox, Kentucky, in the summer of 1921. The odyssey of 
the chaplain school (some 14 moves to the present) was begun. The next 
move was to Fort Wayne, Michigan, in the autumn of 1922. After three 
sessions there the school moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Five ses- 
sions were held there. 

So few chaplains could attend that the course was offered only once 
each year, and biennial classes were proposed. Six students attended in 
1926, 2 the next year, and only 1 was available for 1928. Two chaplains 
and 20 officers of the Command and General StaflF Schools gave the 
instruction, and the commandant declared it a waste of energy for so 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


many to "shadow box with one student." The director recommended that 
the school be closed unless more students could be obtained. One Regular 
and 11 Reserve chaplains attended a short term in 1928. Though the 
chaplains stationed at Fort Leavenworth were considered the faculty of 
the school for years and w^orked on extension courses, instruction for 
resident students was not offered again. Eleven sessions of the peace- 
time school were held and a total of 189 students attended. At least 20 
of these were Reserve chaplains.*^" What caused the demise of the 
Chaplain School? Commanders were often reluctant or unwilling to be 
without a chaplain in their unit for the number of weeks or months re- 
quired to attend the school ; that was one reason why the length of the 
course continued to be cut. There was an underlying current of nonsupport 
that raised the question of why chaplains needed a school, since they were 
already trained clergymen. Training funds were scarce and other 
branches viewed the school's resources with envy. Finally, the chaplain 
branch was small — only 1 25 chaplains were on active duty — and retention 
was not a problem, so that few new chaplains were coming on active duty. 
Reserves would have "saved" the school, but the decision was made to 
train them by correspondence rather than in residence. This soon became 
the only mission of the school until it was reactivated in World War II. 

An added benefit of the school, when it was in operation, was fellow- 
ship for chaplains. Scattered thinly and widely throughout the Army, the 
School gave them an opportunity to meet and know one another to 
compare experiences, and to be exposed to men of other faiths. The 
real genesis for ecumenism among Army chaplains was in those friendly 
contacts. Chaplain Ford said : 

"One of the things I tried to do was to get the Catholics and Protes- 
tants to talk to one another. During breaks between classes Catholics 
talked to Catholics and Protestants to Protestants. I tried to mix them up 
a bit ... a mission in \vhich I was only partially successful"; however 
feeble, it was a beginning. 

Other Training 

Section 127a of the National Defense Act of 1920 authorized the 
assignment of officers to civilian schools as students. Twenty-five chaplains 
studied in some civilian school during the period from 1923-41. Au- 
thorization was one thing and funds another. Shortage of funds hampered 
the effectiveness of the program, but the Chief of Chaplains was able 
to negotiate an arrangement with the Univeristy of Chicago and the 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

20 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

Catholic University of America by which he could send men to these 
institutions for only $60 a year. Originally, four men each year, new 
to the Army, were selected to go ; but a later Chief changed the policy on 
the grounds that such training would be more valuable after a chaplain 
had served several years with troops. 

Chaplains selected were ordered to Fort Sheridan, Illinois, 05 Fort 
Meade, Maryland, three months prior to the opening of the appropriate 
university, depending on their denomination. There, under experienced 
chaplains, and through a correspondence course from the chaplain school, 
they were instructed and supervised ;. they also were assigned preaching 
duties on the post. 

The plan was met by mixed reactions. Some students of extremely 
conservative background were greatly distressed and upset by the ultra- 
modern instruction, causing one Chief of Chaplains to observe that they 
became confused and did not remain long enough to think their psycho- 
logical and spiritual problems through to an intelligent conviction. 
Another Chief added that he saw little evidence of enhanced usefulness 
in the later records of men who took these advanced studies. Many who 
attended, however, declared they were greatly benefited by this schooling 
and earnestly recommended continuation of the policy. From 1923 to 
1941, 25 chaplains, including Harry O. Frazer, Maurice W. Reynolds, 
and Elmer C. Tiedt, had the privilege of postgraduate study." 

The correspondence course developed by the Chaplain School be- 
came the main method by which Reserve chaplains were trained. This 
course as first presented in 1924 included Practical Duties of Chaplains, 
American Political Institutions, Military Sociology, and six common 
subcourses prepared by other branches. In 1929 a more comprehensive 
course was divided between subjects appropriate for the study of first 
lieutenants and those intended for captains. For several years a list of 
books on psychology, government, and military history was recommended 
for reading by chaplains of field grade; one requirement for promotion 
to the grade of lieutenant colonel was a certificate that at least six of 
these works had been read. 

Those responsible for course development felt long courses discour- 
aged home study. A decision was made that subjects requiring more than 
30 hours be subdivided, with 20 hours considered ideal. Lessons requiring 
3 hours of work were substituted for shorter ones in the belief that this 
would be about the time most students would devote to study in an eve- 
ning. During the 18-year life of this extension course, 85 percent of the 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


men enrolled were commissioned in the Reserve, 14 in the National 
Guard, and four-tenths of one percent in the Regular Army. The remain- 
der were civilians or enlisted men of one of these components/'' 

Several local schools for Reserve chaplains were held by active duty 
chaplains at their posts. One at Fort Monroe in 1927 had a curriculum 
that covered customs of the service, military writing, staff procedures, 
religious education instruction, first aid, and physical fitness/^ 

Activities of Chaplains 

What did chaplains do from day to day in the particular units to 
which they were assigned? How did they view their role in the military, 
and how were they perceived by others? In the preceding volume in this 
series, Up From Handyman, Earl F. Stover wrote that General Pershing 
got credit for pushing the chaplaincy "up from handyman." Their earlier 
duties were so ill defined that chaplains were employed during the week as 
post gardeners, laundrymen, commissary officers, or counsels for the de- 
fense during courts-martial. The worst abuses were overcome by Per- 
shing's insistence that chaplains be allowed to minister as clergymen, not 

Beginning in 1920, chaplains' monthly reports were sent through 
channels to the Chief's Office rather than to the Adjutant General. This 
enabled Axton to monitor what duties the chaplains were involved in and 
make stronger recommendations to protect them. An example was War 
Department Circular No. 42, 1921, entided "Duties of Chaplains." It 
stated that chaplain duties were closely analogous to those performed by 
clergymen in civilian life, but added the duties of school teachers. Axton 
stated that in Hawaii five sevenths of the chaplains' time was used up in 
non-religious duties, and that it would do no good to ask for more chap- 
lains under such conditions, but instead chaplains must be protected by 
regulation to spend their time at their proper ministry. In 1923 he pro- 
posed a revision to the regulation ( AR 60-5 ) which clearly defined chap- 
lains' work and permitted fewer loopholes. The successful revision read: 

Chaplains will be employed on no duties other than those required 
of them by law, or pertaining to their profession as clergymen, except 
when an exigency of the service . . . shall make it necessary. Chaplains are 
not available for detail as post exchange officers or as counsel for the de- 
fense in courts-martial.*^^ 

This regulation, developed by Axton, included chaplain authoriza- 
tion (1 to 1,200 officers and men), the work of the Chief of Chaplains, 
reports, appointment, duties, status, chaplains' school, permission to at- 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

246-684 O - 78 

22 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

tend conventions, funds, responsibility of commanders in relation to chap- 
lains, sabbath observance, the chaplain's flag, and graves registration.*^'^ 

Under Axton's direction a 1926 Training Manual, "The Chaplain, 
His Place and Duties," contained an elaborate diagram of activities. (Ap- 
pendix A. ) Although directives defined their duties, most chaplains found 
themselves assigned to tasks that had little relationship to their training. 
Chaplain Benjamin Tarskey at Brooks Field in 1920 was post librarian, 
morale officer, exchange officer, and in charge of the Army Service Club. 
Chaplain Edward Branham at Luke Field, Hawaii, in 1924 was chairman 
of the athletic council, conducted the savings campaign, and organized 
the Mountain and Trail Club which emphasized hiking.''' 

Some chaplains did not stand up to commanders regarding such 
tasks; others welcomed the extra duties as means of reaching the un- 
churched, or because they enjoyed the activities as hobbies. Still others 
were not clear as to what it meant to be a minister, priest, or rabbi in 
uniform, and in trying to be generally helpful became errand boys. Com- 
manders ran the gamut from open hostility through barely disguised an- 
noyance to enthusiastic support. AR 60-5 noted that "ultimate responsi- 
bility for matters of religious and moral nature devolves upon command- 
ing officers." In spite of directives commanders were slow to give chap- 
lains the support and guidance they needed. Generally, effective chaplain 
programs depended on interested commanders. 

Chaplain Maurice W. Reynolds reported to the Commanding Offi- 
cer, Major Ralph Royce, at Carlstrom Field. Royce said, "We're glad to 
have you, but what the hell does a chaplain do?" ''^ Always there were 
men who rose to the challenge and knevv^ vv^hat they were supposed to do. 
In Chaplain Maurice Reynolds' first 10 days at Carlstrom Field in 1920 
he arranged for a Catholic priest to conduct Mass, set up a Protestant 
Worship schedule, began publication of a post newspaper, conducted 
Christmas services, and met with all personnel to explain his work. He 
started an evening service at which attendance rose to 200, and a guard- 
house service. Carlstrom then had a base population of only 490 officers 
and enlisted men and had been without the services of a chaplain for two 

Chaplain Benjamin Tarskey enjoyed support from his commander 
and in his report of May 1 929 said : 

Our esteemed Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. Arthur G. Fisher, 
A.C., relinquishes this command the first week of June 1929. Advantage 
is taken of the present submission of the Chaplain Monthly Report to ac- 
knowledge the debt of deep gratitude to Colonel Fisher for his excep- 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


tional interest and cooperation in encouraging and promoting the re- 
ligious and moral training program at this station. He has not only gener- 
ously aided our activities in every possible way but always by his personal 
attendance on practically every Sunday at our General Service has been a 
forceful example of leadership to the entire Command in religious and 
moral training.' ° 

Chaplain C. W. Branham wrote to the Chief of Chaplains in 1927 : 

The Commanding Officer of this field is anxious to have a good 
chaplain here. This is in direct opposition to the attitude we found when 
we arrived here when the adjutant was using the phone to inform De- 
partment Headquarters they did not want any "Blankety blank" chap- 
lains at Luke Field. . . .' ^ 

Similar experiences characterized the entire chaplaincy; in some 
places enthusiastic support by the commander, and in other places disin- 
terest, confusion, or hostility. Other factors also influenced the job a chap- 
lain did. One wrote of conditions in 1929 : 

I am up against the toughest job I ever faced. ... No married officers 
or enlisted men are living on the Post, and the enlisted men who live in 
the barracks have been so long without a chaplain . . . that they all . . . 
leave the Post on Sunday. ... I am getting together a small nucleus of 
men who are . . . religious-minded. My first service had 12 men.'" 

Within a few months he reported an average attendance of 300. 

Chaplains conducted Sunday services of worship and in the som- 
nolent atmosphere of Army installations in the twenties, reported good 
attendance at even hymn sings, Bible studies, and mid-week worship 
services. Evangelistic meetings, baptisms, weddings, and funerals were 
part of their pastoral responsibilities. While these events closely paralleled 
the civilian parish, Chaplain Maurice W. Reynolds wrote Chaplain Ax- 
ton in 1921 requesting guidance about and the publication of directives 
on the customs of military weddings and funerals.'^ 

Chaplains visited their men in barracks, hospitals, shops, training 
areas, ranges, and stockades. They worked with the Boy Scouts, Red Cross, 
Salvation Army, Community Chest, and the PTA program. Lectures were 
an inevitable part of the chaplain program. Sex hygiene talks came into 
general acceptance after the war. Veneral disease took an alarming toll 
of casulties during the war years, and the peacetime Army was not indif- 
ferent to the effect of VD on efficiency. Many a pragmatic commander 
judged the efficiency of his chaplain on the rise and fall of VD statistics 
in the unit.'* 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

24 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

In June 1928 there were only 120 chaplains in the Army, represent- 
ing 19 denominations, but they conducted 18,890 services on military 
reservations with an attendance of 1,777,018 worshippers; that meant an 
average attendance at 13 services for each member of the Regular Army 
that fiscal year." The figures for other years of the period showed these to 
be typical. While they did not reflect who went how often, they showed 
that each chaplain conducted an average of three worship services per 

The Chief of Chaplains reported in 1927, "There are many success- 
ful Sunday Schools in the Army with a membership of from 35 to 100 and 
reports of post chaplains indicate that post personnel cooperate enthusi- 
astically in carrying on this important work." 

The average weekly attendance in 1926 for some of these was as 
follows : 

Schofield Barracks, Hawaii 248 

Fort Bragg, North Carolina 174 

Fort Monroe, Virginia 158 

Fort Leavenworth, Kansas 135 

The post population in the twenties was quite small. There were no 
large housing areas for dependents, and married noncommissioned officers 
and soldiers were nearly a rarity. Regulations forbade the marriage of 
men in the lower grades, and marriage against regulations was considered 
grounds for a bar to re-enlistment. So the Chief wrote, "When one con- 
siders the small number of dependents at most posts, this is a good 
record." '' 

The religious education program was further hampered by lack of 
supplies, facilities, equipment, religious educators and anything remotely 
resembling a uniform curriculum. Sunday Schools met in mess halls, 
hangars, movie theaters, and one met in a PX. George F. Rixey (later the 
first Deputy Chief of Chaplains) visited the class and found the children 
chewing gum and eating candy. "Where did you get it?" he asked. 
"George (his son) gave it to us." "Where did he get it?" the chaplain in- 
quired. The children replied in a chorus: "He hit the jackpot." Slot ma- 
chines were allowed in the PX, and his son got lucky. But gambling did not 
seem a proper activity for Sunday School children and Rixey solved the 
problem by having the machines removed and punch cards substituted 
in their place. These could be put away during the Sunday School hour. 
Chaplains used imagination to overcome the difficulties and shortages 
that faced them in the accomplishment of their mission." 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


Educational Duties 

The training manual for chaplains stated : 

an "expressed desire of the Government, in the case of enlisted men, to return 
them to civil life at the termination of military service better equipped for 
the ordinary duties of citizenship than when enlisted .... While a chaplain 
is not ordinarily available for detail as recreation officer, athletic officer, or 
educational officer, he may easily be contributory to all of these. This status 
as defined in x^rmy Regulations No. 60-5 clearly indicates his obligation to 
render such advice or assistance in all these realms as may be calculated to 
contribute to the moral or character-building values of each." '^ 

Lectures were commended to chaplains as a promising field, when 
adequate study and care were bestowed upon them. Geography and his- 
tory were considered good topics, especially for troops on foreign soil. 
Chaplain Edmund Easterbrook, later Chief of Chaplains, was a good 
example. He organized a church, Sunday School, and Bible class in the 
Royal Palace at Coblenz that continued until occupation forces were 
withdrawn in 1923. He often used illustrations and worked in facts about 
the area that were of historical note, and gave lectures on the history and 
geography of the area. Fisher and Cohee did the same in Tientsin, 
China.''' Probably the most famous lecture of this period was Alva J. 
Brasted's "The Great Building," which he delivered more than 400 times. 
Once more than 11,000 men in Hawaii gathered in an amphitheatre to 
hear it.'° 

The first record of motion pictures being taken in the Army was by 
a chaplain. (He was later reprimanded for selling them. It was inter- 
preted as unauthorized moonlighting.)^' Chaplains introduced motion 
pictures as a teaching tool in both religious education and the secular 
educational duties required of them. They used slides and phonographs to 
support discussions and lectures and were innovative in using radio and 
post newspapers as further avenues to reach the unchurched. In an earlier 
day, when sharp lines between religion and education were not finely and 
distinctly drawn, chaplains lectured and taught classes on citizenship and 
patriotic themes, current events, and sociological subjects with religious 
references and illustrations sprinkled amply throughout. Attendance at 
classes was voluntary. Clubs for dramatics, reading, and debate were 
sponsored and encouraged. Education was considered to be character 
building and knowledge good in and of itself.^' The educational role of 
the chaplain continued unchallenged even into World War II. Black 
chaplains, or white chaplains assigned to what were then called "colored" 
units, spent much duty and off duty time teaching the illiterate to read 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

26 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

and write. Remedial classes in mathematics, geography, government, his- 
tory, and other basic subjects gave the soldier a better grasp of his herit- 
age, and more knowledge to face his future within or outside the military 

Foreign Service 

The 15th Infantry Regiment served from 1912 to 1938 in Tientsin, 
China. In the early twenties an able and popular man. Chaplain (Cap- 
tain) Orville E. Fisher, the Protestant chaplain, became editor of the 
regimental newspaper, the Sentinel. His column, "The Chaplain's Notes," 
was a regular feature, and one of the most interesting ; it doubtless earned 
him the editor's job. The "Notes" contained articles on the brain and its 
functions; on sports figures like a seventeen-year-old Chicagoan with 
more swimming records than any other — a slender lad named Johnny 
WeismuUer; on history; on literature, with quotations from Shakespeare, 
Confucius, Milton; one on the value of a good name, which cited the case 
of Judge Landis, whose good name and reputation led to his selection as 
baseball commissioner — after the scandals — at $50,000 a year.®^ 

The paper gave a good account of life on the post. A Mack Senatt 
comedy, "Are Waitresses Safe?" played at the recreation hall, which was 
where services were held. The theatre boasted a play, "A Virtuous 
Vamp." There was a skating rink, a full athletic schedule, including 
hockey (they were beaten by the Marines) and baseball, basketball, track 
and football. A notice in the paper announced : "Thursday night is Forum 
night. The chaplain will lead the discussion on current topics. This is not 
a private talk on his part but a free for all and open discussion. So load up 
your question ammunition and fire away." Other gleanings revealed that 
the Astor House Hotel loaned palms for Palm Sunday, that attendance 
was building, and that Sunday evening movies and singing were followed 
by a talk by the chaplain. 

Little hints were scattered throughout the paper, such as, "You feed 
your body 21 times a week whether it needs it or not. Why not throw your 
soul a bone once a week even if it doesn't seem to be hungry. The poor 
thing may be too weak to make its wants known." 

His sermon titles were printed in the paper and included catchy 
ones like, "The Biggest Lie"; "Jumping Frogs" (about jumping to prej- 
udices with only partial information) ; "Can An Intelligent Man Be A 
Christian?"; "Old Trick— New Name"; and "The Bible Verse Presi- 
dent Harding Kissed." *' 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


Paragraph 3, Circular No. 42, War Department, Feb. 17, 1921 
enjoined every chaplain to serve the moral and religious needs of the 
entire personnel of the command. Chaplain Fisher quoted it in announc- 
ing Jewish Passover services and Roman Catholic Masses on Palm Sun- 
day and Easter. He then ran a long article on the history and meaning of 
Passover that was quite interesting. He also urged soldiers to attend 
civilian Catholic and Protestant churches in town. It was noteworthy 
that as editor he was listed as "Chaplain," but as business manager of the 
paper he was listed as "Captain" Fisher. ^^ 

Pacifist and Constitutional Opposition 

No new arguments concerning the Christian and the issue of war 
appeared in this decade. There were conscientious objectors and consci- 
entious participants who could quote Scripture to prove the rightness of 
their position. People felt strongly about religion, and how and by whom 
it should be presented to men in the Army. The most vocal enemies and 
opponents of the chaplaincy in this period were not atheists and free 
thinkers, but fellow churchmen. As early as 1924, The Christian Century 
was demanding, "Get the Churches out of the Chaplaincy Business," its 
theme song until World War H. Charles C. Morrison, editor of the maga- 
zine, offered a resolution in 1924 that the Federal Council of Churches 
cease making itself a party to militarism by taking action to refuse the 
indorsement of any further chaplains for appointment to the Army or 
Navy.^*^ Another Christian Century editorial appeared in October 1924 
with the title "Christ or Caesar — The Chaplain's Choice." Commenting 
on the gains of the chaplaincy it said : 

Why should the Federal Council "care" if the chaplaincy does 
revert back to the former "chaos"? It is none of the church's business 
whether it reverts or not, or to what it reverts. This is the war system's 
business ; let the war system look to it ! It is no more the business of the 
Christian church to train and furnish military chaplains than it is to train 
and furnish machine gunners and bayoneteers.®' 

John M. Thomas, a Reserve chaplain and President of Pennsylvania 
State College, wrote an article for The Chaplain School Bulletin in 1925 
in response to the growing pacifist sentiments within the church. He said 
pacifism was "an attitude based on ignorance of facts or refusal to con- 
sider conditions and tendencies which actually obtain in the affairs of 
the nations of the world. The cure of pacifism, therefore, is knowledge 
and information." ^'^ He went on to point out that to be unprepared for 
war is to invite war. 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

28 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

By 1929 the churches' remorse for the excessive mihtarism shown 
during World War I led to a widespread commitment to dogmatic 
Christian pacifism, and the Federal Council of Churches greeted the 
United States Senate's consent to the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact with 
jubilation : "Let church bells be rung, songs sung, prayers of thanksgiving 
be offered and petitions for help from God that our nation may ever fol- 
low the sprit and meaning of the pact." ^''* (The 1930's saw even stronger 
opposition on pacifist grounds and is treated in the next chapter. ) 

Attacks on the chaplaincy came from a second ideological point of 
view, the belief that the chaplaincy was unconstitutional. Since chaplains 
held commissions from the government and were paid from public funds, 
critics held they were in violation of the provisions of the First Amend- 
ment to the Constitution. They favored a civilian chaplaincy managed 
and supervised directly by the churches. Several times the Chief of Chap- 
lains was prepared for action from The Commission on Chaplains of the 
Army and Navy, but the opposition never materialized in numbers suffi- 
cient to force a vote to change the system. It was an argument that was 
never adequately addressed, and would pop up again and again.''" 

The Insignia of Grade Question 

Another perennial question never fully resolved was the status of a 
chaplain as an officer. Chaplains were addressed as "Chaplain" rather 
than as "Captain" or "Major." This emphasized the functional role of 
the chaplain as a clergyman in uniform. But it was an officers uniform. 

During World War I, General Pershing, Bishop Brent, Bishop 
McCormick, and other leading clergy thought that chaplains could be 
closer to their men without the insignia of grade on their uniforms. Spe- 
cial Regulations 41 and 42 were changed on 7 and 22 May 1918, at Per- 
shing's direction, and the insignia of grade was removed from the uniform. 
Chaplains were directed to wear the cross on shoulder loops instead of 
grade insignia. '^^ This change was observed generally in Europe.^' Many 
chaplains in America knew nothing about it and continued to wear in- 
signia of grade as before. 

Some chaplains felt strongly that the removal of the evidence of 
grade was a mistake, and degraded the chaplaincy in the estimation of 
the soldier. Bishop Brent changed his mind on the question and sug- 
gested a compromise — one cross for lieutenants, two crosses for captains, 
and three for majors.'" But the suggestion was never adopted. The contro- 
versy gained momentum when the Director of the Chaplain's School and 
two of his staff were removed because they refused to comply with the 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


policy and recommended that their students protest it by writing 

Axton opposed the poHcy at the time of its inception. Now' as Chief 
of Chaplains, he was in a better position to be heard. He wrote : 

The failure to provide insignia of rank for chaplains is the occasion 
for constant embarrassment of members of the corps and the irritations 
growing out of this are such as to provide a discordant note in and 
among an important group of clergymen, now numbering nearly 
thirteen hundred, who are chaplains in the three components of the 
Army. These men, many of them bishops and college presidents, are 
constantly urging this office to renew representation that has heretofore 
been made for the restoration to the uniform of some e\idence that men 
in the corps, by reason of years of experience and exceptional accomplish- 
ments, advance in rank." 

Good men can and do differ on how the mission of the chaplain should 
be accomplished in a military setting. Chaplain Daniel B. Jorgensen 
wrote : 

The fact is that ... an officer without rank did not fit into the 
military structure. 

Further, it reenforced the old discrimination chaplains had suffered 
in being paid less than authorized by their grades. Though chaplains had 
the same financial obligations as other officers — sometimes greater be- 
cause of their work — they had lower pay."*^ 

Brent's influence in the War Department was so great, even though 
he had returned to civilian life, that Axton needed his support to effect 
a change. In 1926 Brent wrote a letter to the Chief of Staff convincing him 
that a change was necessary. At the Chief of Staff's request a board met 
in the Adjutant GeneraFs office to consider the question. The Chief of 
Chaplains did his home\vork and brought to the meeting the results of a 
questionnaire sent out to active duty chaplains. Of the 1 26 chaplains ques- 
tioned, 116 were emphatic in the opinion that insignia of rank should be 
worn; two were indifferent; and seven said they were satisfied with the 
present arrangement.''' 

A sample of the answers on the questionnaire showed these state- 
ments entered in the record of proceedings : 

"If a Chaplain cannot win the confidence and comradeship of his 
men while wearing insignia of rank, the mere concealment of the fact that 
he holds increased rank and will not enable him to do so." "Insignia of 
rank saves confusion and explanation." "If there is honor in holding rank 
and wearing e\'idence of that honor the chaplain is as much entitled to it 
as other officers." "Chaplains chafe under the very evident discrimination 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

30 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

concerning rank and insignia of it." "Increase in rank does not necessarily 
increase the distance between enlisted men and the chaplain. Quite the 
contrary." "Officers of the line consider present arrangement a peculiar 
mistake." "Give Army and Navy Chaplains equal consideration. The 
Navy Chaplains wear insignia of rank." "The removal of insignia of rank, 
if carried to its logical end, would put the chaplain out of uniform 

"Without insignia of rank he is frequently mistaken for a w^elfare 
worker, many of whom have little or no standing among the soldiers." 
"Misunderstandings, humiliations and absurdities have come into the 
life of the chaplains by reasons of the change." "I favor no camouflage 
rank. Make it actual." "The chaplain cannot carry his commission around 
and flag every passerby with it. His status should be read and known to all 
men at a glance." "The only symbol the army is trained to respect is the 
insignia of rank." "Rank and evidence of it contribute to respect and ef- 
ficiency." "Removal has lowered the standard of the chaplain in the eyes 
of the enlisted men." "The enlisted man is not going to entrust his affairs to 
an officer who cannot be entrusted by his government with the emblem 
of his rank." "It is a reflection on the intelligence of the men of the army 
to say the insignia of rank will keep the men away from the Chaplain." 
"Nothing is lost by wearing the insignia of rank; very much is lost without 
it." "If it has seemed that the insignia of rank was detrimental to the 
chaplain the fault was with the chaplain, not w ith the insignia." "Without 
insignia of rank the Chaplain, like the poor field clerk, is more or less of a 
nonentity in the army." "Some Bishops are naturally approachable and 
some are not; it altogether depends upon the personality of the man, not 
the absence of a Pectoral Cross or Braid and Buttons and this is equally true 
of Army Chaplains. The Naval Chaplain wears his rank ; I have yet to hear 
it stated that the Army Chaplain is more approachable personage than the 
Naval Chaplain. The Chaplains of all other armies wear their rank, there- 
fore, we must infer that the American soldier is different from his brother 
who joins the Navy and different from all other men in all other armies, in 
that he is afraid of a Chaplain, because, forsooth, he wears a couple of 
silver bars on his shoulder." "*" 

The Board reviewed statements, listened to testimony, examined the 
procedures in foreign armies, and concluded on 19 March 1926: "It is 
recommended that the insignia of rank be restored to the uniform of the 
Chaplain. This recommendation is made in the behef that an immediate 
contribution to the efficiency of chaplains will, result." Chaplain Axton 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


commented, "Many would be made happy and none unhappy by this 
move." '' 

Not only was insignia of grade back on the uniform after a seven 
year absence, but a Congressional Act of 1926 also guaranteed for the 
first time in American history that chaplains were given the rank, pay, and 
allowances of their respective grades up to and including that of colonel. 
They were to wear their distinctive insignia — Latin crosses for Catholic 
and Protestant, and tablets with the Star of David for Jewish — on their 
lapels. This important legislation and its enactment gave chaplains a firm 
status in the service."" 

llie question of chaplains wearing rank was tied to whether they 
should have it in the first place. 

Pershing said in official correspondence : 

Recommend legislation modifying laws reference promotion of 
Chaplains. Present law authorized the grade of First Lieutenant only 
except after long period of service. The duties of Chaplains both in front 
division and in hospitals have been most arduous and far exceed their 
normal duties in peace time. To secure greater efficiency it has been 
necessary to have superxisory chaplains in each division and in each corps 
as well as the larger hospitals. It is fitting that chaplains assigned to these 
duties should have rank commensurate with their responsibilities. Rec- 
ommend for the present allowance of chaplains for the AEF under ex- 
isting law one Colonel, eight Lieutenant Colonels, forty four Majors, 498 
Captains and 900 or more First Lieutenants. I also recommend in view of 
the advancement of other officers of the regular establishment that an ad- 
vancement of one grade for the period of the war be authorized for all 
Chaplains of the regular establishment. I consider prompt remedial 
action necessary as an act of justice to the many chaplains who have ren- 
dered conspicuous service. ^"^ 

In his final report to the Adjutant General, Bishop Brent wrote: 
"Both in theory and experience the truth has been driven home that the 
chaplain must be an integral part of the military establishment which he 
serves if he is going to reach his highest effectiveness." Writing about 
"welfare officers" in the same report he said, "Experience seems to indi- 
cate that in many instances the chaplain was by long odds the best man for 
the place. Inasmuch as his rank was not that of a field officer, he was not 
eligible for the position. This is one out of many cases that could be cited 
of the necessity for rank for the chaplain as a facility." "" Many chap- 
lains agreed that increased rank helped them to help their men; it facili- 
tated their functioning in the system and on that basis increased their 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

32 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

Further Relationships of Church and Chaplaincy 

The chaplaincy organized with a Chief of Chaplains, regulations de- 
fined their duties, a school started, manuals and correspondence courses 
guided them in continuing training, their status as officers was established, 
selection procedures tightened, reserves organized, promotion and rank, 
pay and allowances stabilized along career lines, the beginnings of a 
branch awareness — if not the status of a corps— had been achieved. All of 
this increased the professional stature and competence of the chaplaincy 
and helped determine how it was perceived in the military. 

The increased professionalism and status achieved by the chaplaincy 
was not a completely in-house matter. The churches wielded political 
power by their interest, support and recommendations that purported to 
represent the will of adherents by the thousands, or even millions; their 
actions had the effect of raising the standards of the chaplaincy and in- 
creasing its effectiveness in ministering to the Army community. 

The Conference on Moral and Religious Work in the Army in 1924 
was an example of church support. Part of their report stressed: 

The purposes of our government in appointing chaplains and the 
place of religion in the Army has been misunderstood, because frequently 
a chaplain has been used simply to promote what is known as morale. 
The chaplain does promote true morale in the best possible way — by reli- 
gious sanction. . . . When he is asked to promote morale first and reli- 
gion afterwards, he is asked to be false to his mission. ^°^ 

Jorgensen stated, "This report had far reaching effect in defining 
the status of the chaplain and the position of morale officer was soon 
abolished." "* 

Chaplains sent reports to denominations on their activities. The de- 
nominations in turn drew closer to their clergy in uniform through re- 
treats, conferences, and professional journals. The Army Chaplains As- 
sociation was founded on 25 April 1925, to strengthen faith, morality, 
and understanding within the Army, to uphold the Constitution, and to 
promote justice, peace, and goodwill. It was composed of present and 
former chaplains of all components on a voluntary basis. The Chief of 
Chaplains said, ". . . in many ways this group has exerted intelligent and 
wholesome influence to improve the status and equipment of chaplains 
and enhance the effectiveness of their work." ^°^ Positive support from re- 
ligious bodies in favor of a strong chaplaincy was evidenced in the sub- 
committee of the Senate and House Committee on Military Affairs. Hear- 
ings on Senate Bill 2532 and H.R. 7038, "To Increase The Number of 
Chaplains In The Army" were held 16 April 1924. 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


General Pershing and Bishop Brent were apparently responsible for 
working out a figure of one chaplain to 1,200 officers and men. That for- 
mula was never met during the period the AEF was active, but it was the 
bench mark on which requisitions for chaplains were computed. In 1924, 
with 1 25 chaplains and an Army strength of 1 3 7,000, the request was made 
by the Chief of Chaplains to reduce the ratio to 1 to 800."*^ 

The rationale behind this request was postwar discontinuance of 
the activities so faithfully carried out by volunteer patriotic and religious 
organizations during the war years. These tasks, including entertainment 
and athletics, became chaplain responsibilities in many commands. 
Civilian "Camp pastors" were phased out; in the judgment of one repre- 
sentative, Charles S. McFarland of the Federal Council of Churches' 
General Committee on Army and Navy Chaplains, they were not a suc- 
cessful venture even as a stopgap measure under wartime emergency.^"' 
The CMTC program with its opportunities was an added and unantici- 
pated responsibility. The educational role of the chaplain was as time 
consuming as individual efforts, abilities, and local conditions would bear. 

Newly organized into a cohesive branch with a spokesman, the chap- 
laincy's timidity in its own behalf seemed to be overcome. Chaplain Ax- 
ton went to the hill with quite a shopping list. He wanted a ratio of 1 to 
800; the Chief to be a Brigadier General instead of a Colonel; reduction 
of the maximum age of entry on active duty to 58 ; creation of a corps 
of chaplain assistants; and an increase by 25 in the number of chaplains 
on active duty.'°^ The complete transcript of the Subcommittee of the 
Senate and House Committees on Military Affairs 1924 hearing made in- 
teresting reading, and revealed a great deal about feelings toward the 
chaplaincy among church leaders, senators, chaplains' association offi- 
cials, and others. There was also revealed a tendency to wander all over 
the parade field on the part of the politicians, who were so uninformed on 
what they were being asked to decide that their efforts to ask penetrating 
questions revealed their ignorance.^°^ General Eisenhower once com- 
mented, "The War Department moves in a mysterious way its blunders 
to perform." "^ The same could be said of the 1924 subcommittee 

One congressman contended that chaplains would have greater in- 
fluence without commissions. A Mr. Hull responded that there is a Chap- 
lain Corps for the same reason there is a Quartermaster Corps. He asked 
why not have a businessmen's organization, and let them wear business 
suits instead of uniforms with no rank.^" Mr. McKenzie could not see the 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

34 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

need for more chaplains and said, "I live in a little town and I know some- 
thing about the churches, and I know that the majority of young men 
either go fishing on Sunday or ride around in an automobile or take life 
easy out in the sunshine rather than go to church. . , ."' ^^~ He was con- 
cerned about the type of chaplains being commissioned. He heard about 
clergymen whose preachments became so anti-war that they advocated re- 
moving mention of it from history books and getting rid of all public 
statues and markers that glorified war heroes in the public mind. "You 
aren't commissioning men who want to tear down the Washington mon- 
ument or Sherman's statue, are you?" he demanded. He also tried to in- 
troduce "evolution" as a test question for commissioning chaplains, and 
quoted William Jennings Bryan's words against the views "of that other 
fellow," presumably either Clarence Darrow or the defendant Scopes, in 
the famous Tennessee trial. 

More to the point of the hearings, Charles S. McFarland, of the 
Federal Council of Churches, testified that the President, the War De- 
partment, and the churches were in favor of the bill, and introduced a 
letter from President Coolidge. He also argued that denominations sensed 
discrimination against the chaplaincy in the fact that it was the only 
branch without a general as chief; that promotion of chaplains was slower 
than that of dentists and doctors; and conveyed to the military and ci- 
vilians alike that religion in the Army occupied a low^ position. 

Chaplain Axton testified on behalf of the 1,100 chaplains in the Reg- 
ular Army, National Guard, and Officers' Reserve Corps that the recom- 
mended changes would give their morale a real boost. He pointed out 
that if the nation wanted high caliber men it ought not to "put them where 
they can't advance with their contemporaries." "^ By today's standards 
advancement was unbelievably slow : less than five years in service first 
lieutenant; five to fourteen years, captain; fourteen to twenty years, 
major; over twenty years, lieutenant colonel; one chaplain could serve as 
colonel for four years while Chief of Chaplains."^^* 

The proposed bill stated: "It is considered that to limit the rank of 
the chief of this branch to colonel, while all other chiefs of branches are 
major generals, is not in accordance with the place of religion in the Army 
nor with the value and importance of the moral and religious influences 
of the ministry in the Army, and in civil life." ^^^ It further pointed out 
that the Navy had fifteen chaplains equivalent in rank to Army colonels. 

The bill did not survive the labyrinthine process of becoming law. It 
would have been expensive. It would have taken spaces away from line 
officers, and the War Department representative in attendance spoke 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


against a chaplain being made a general on the grounds that he had never 
held command. Most of the provisions dropped out of sight in the full 
committee meetings as all of the other branches' requests were considered. 
The Act passed in 1926 gave chaplains equal pay and promotion oppor- 
tunities through the grade of Colonel. 

Citizens Military Training Camps 

Considering the pacifist and anti-military feeling of the twenties, and 
the reluctance to spend money on military training, one of the phenomena 
that didn't seem to fit at first glance was The Citizens Military Training 
Camps. An unusually warm and uncritical reception was given to the 

The CMTC had its genesis under Major General Leonard Wood, 
Chief of Staff, in 1913 at Gettysburg and Monterey. They were fore- 
runners of the ROTC program and endorsed by President Wilson for 
their contribution to physical health and character. ^^^ In 1920 the Citizens 
Military Training Camps were authorized by Congress and opened in 
1921. Popular approval saw them grow from 20,000 men in 1922 to 
35,000 in 1925."' Camps were open to young men aged 17-24 in a four 
year sequence, entitled, Basic, Red, White, and Blue. They attended four 
weeks each summer, and upon completion of four summer's training were 
eligible to take an examination which led to a Reserve commission. Morn- 
ings were spent in drill, afternoons in physical training, athletics, sys- 
tematic instruction by lecture, conference, and discussion in the principles 
of good citizenship. Evenings were devoted to recreation, movies, concerts, 
amateur dramatics, dances, and indoor games. Physical examinations 
uncovered various health problems; remedial exercises were suggested 
along with minor treatment and referrals to doctors in home communities. 
The men were to spread the health and fitness gospel to every village and 
town. The program lasted fifteen years, spread to 51 Army reservations 
and trained 450,730 men. As usual, funding was a problem. In 1931, for 
example, there were 82,642 applicants but funds to take only 37,500 

Since General Wood's avowed purpose was to ". . . awaken a slum- 
bering people to a sense of present unpreparedness and inability to meet its 
soldier responsibility as citizens of a democracy . . ." '" not a popular 
message— why was the program so successful? The answer lay in the 
oblique benefits that accrued, to which the public could subscribe whole- 
heartedly. Theodore Roosevelt said, "The tent where boys sleep side by 
side will rank next to the public school among the great agents of democ- 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

36 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

racy." '^° The romanticism of nature and the presumed character building 
aspects of outdoor Hfe, combined with the send-this-boy-to-camp syn- 
drome were guaranteed, in the popular mind, to produce a good Ameri- 
can. One government pamphlet characterized the program as "offering 
thirty days of out-door life at Government expense." "^ 

The part played by religion was not ignored in this training. George 
F. James, author of numerous books on the CMTC wrote, "Religion is the 
foundation of civilization. Services for men of every faith are held at 
appropriate times during the camp period, and candidates are urged to 
attend. Spiritual advice is never lacking. Chaplains have regular hours for 
individual conference." ^^^ 

The chaplains were Regular and Reserve, usually with the Regular 
in charge. "Urged to attend" was interpreted in most places as mandatory 

In a report to the General Committee on Army and Navy Chaplains 
in 1927 one official stated : "In most cases the Sunday morning worship is 
now required. . . . The anticipated protest on the part of the boys have 
not been realized, and their general reaction may be indicated by the 
following testimony from one of them who wrote up their experiences 
for the camp magazine: 

Compulsory church attendance was an order which seemed to many 
fellows the forerunner of an unnecessary ordeal. They received a surprise. 
The chaplains aroused so much enthusiasm that the services proved in- 
teresting to all and the sermons held everyone's attention. The chaplains 
were on hand at all times and were always ready to help us.^'^ 

When the question of compulsory church was raised by parents and 
press. Major General Charles P. Summerall, the commander of the 
CMTC, expressed no doubt about what should be done : ". . . the boys 
coming to the camps are sent by their parents and not by their ministers, 
and if the parents do not approve the young men can stay away." ^^* In the 
same speech he attacked those "renegades" who were teaching evolution, 
the denial of the divinity of Christ, and the Immaculate Conception. The 
Citizen published by C.M.T.C. trainees at Fort Washington, Maryland, 
said : "These religious services are just as much a part of camp curriculum 
as the military instruction and serve well the purpose for which they were 
designed." ^^^ As the dust settled, Summerall announced that each recruit 
would attend the service of his choice, regardless of age, "unless he can 
present a written request from his parent or guardian that he be 
excused." ''' 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


Charles S. McFarland, Secretary of the General Committee on Army 
and Navy Chaplains, reported on five years worth of visitations to the 
camps by saying : 

The authorities in charge show increasing recognition of the neces- 
sity for providing the thousands of boys who attend these camps with 
the best possible moral and religious influences, and this is shared increas- 
ingly by the administrative officers directly in charge of them. ... A 
general and progressive improvement is noted year by year. The general 
tone and atmosphere of the camps is better. . . . This is especially true 
of the distinctively religious work. It is, for the most part, well organized. 
The chaplains visualize it more clearly. The provisions for it are more 
adequate and the results are apparent, although it must be said that 
there are instances where some commanding officers have not yet caught 
the spirit. ^'^ 

All was not sweetness and light, for the report went on to grouse a bit. 
"There is little point in the commanding officer telling us that he 'heartily 
encourages attendance at worship,' while he himself, during the hour of 
worship, sits in full view on his porch surrounded by the Sunday papers. 
Indeed about the only suggestion of protest on the part of the boys is in 
the form of a question as to why their officers do no participate in this as in 
other required service." ^^^ 

Other points of friction, perhaps inevitable, were alluded to. "There 
is still considerable room for improvement in some instances in the matter 
of hearty cooperation between the recreation officer, and the chaplain. 
There are some considerations in favor of making the Chaplain the Rec- 
reation Officer, as is frequently done in the National Guard." One chap- 
lain complained that excursions were often scheduled during church, and 
weekend passes were too freely given. "It is hardly fair to the average 
seventeen year old boy to ask him whether he had rather go off in a boat 
or to church." ''^ 

The report concluded with the recommendation that chaplains be 
assigned to ROTC camps as well, and underscored the need for a closer 
association between National Guard Chaplains and the Chief's office. It 
also commended the YMCA for their continued good work on Army posts. 

The Chaplains conducted services in the camps, and performed edu- 
cational duties in the area of citizenship. Chaplain Clifford P. Futcher 
gave twelve lectures on citizenship in a course later developed into A 
Manual for Citizenship Training for use in all the camps in 1927. The fol- 
lowing year, the War Department published a manual entitled Citizen- 
ship which superseded the one by Futcher and suggested a director of 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

246-684 O - 78 

38 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

training be appointed for each CMTC who would supervise company 
officers in giving lectures on : 

1 . The American Citizen 

2. Inter-dependent Relationships 

3. Character, The Great Asset of America 

4. Great Americans and Their Achievements 

5. Economic Development of America 

6. Individual Initiative 

7. Liberty and Independence 

8. The Purpose of Government 

9. Representative Government 

10. Personal Responsibility 

1 1 . Self-Preservation 

12. The American Flag"" 

Character building talks were considered part of the chaplains' 
responsibility and these talks and similar ones by other chaplains laid the 
groundwork for the later Character Guidance and Human Self Develop- 
ment programs. 

Another duty that chaplains performed was counseling. If a young 
man w^as poorly motivated, homesick, a discipline problem, or troubled 
by family difficulties he was sent by his commander to see the chaplain. 
The chaplain w as the man in the system who had time to listen. Many men 
sought out the chaplain on their own initiative to discuss questions of 
religion, morality, sex, and career guidance. These wide ranging contacts 
with men of widely divergent backgrounds brought chaplains into contact 
with large numbers of young men which enabled them to perform a 
ministry and receive invaluable training through experience. 

Equipment and Assistants 

Some men were able to get by with a blanket and a Bible for equip- 
ment. Prior to 1923 the only equipment authorized a chaplain was a blue 
flag with a white latin cross on it. This was used to mark the location of 
the chaplain's tent, and the place where divine services were conducted. 
Most services were held out of doors. Only 1 7 installations had permanent 
chapels. This was in marked contrast to what was happening throughout 
the United States — the greatest church building program in history."^ 

Chief Axton wrote to Chaplain Maurice W. Reynolds in 1921 : 

Our chaplains have suffered in their work from lack of facilities and 
from the era of depression that followed the world war but from reports 
covering the entire field we are encouraged to believe that the low point 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


was passed long ago and we are going forward steadily to larger and 
better things."' 

In 1925 he offered to help any chaplain who planned to erect a 
chapel. But in the main his statements were wishful thinking in a nation 
tired of war and determined to cut military expenditure to the bone. In 
his seventh year as Chief, even Axton became discouraged and wrote to 
Chaplain Charles F. Graeser: 

Of course we wish the government would make provisions for 
chapels at all permanent posts but I see no prospect of this being accom- 
plished any time soon and therefore we are encouraging the communities 
near our posts in the belief that they have a definite responsibility to aid in 
providing houses of worship for soldiers.^^^ 

Chaplain Benjamin J. Tarskey in the Canal Zone, received permis- 
sion from his commander to raise voluntary funds to erect a chapel. The 
various fund raising features met with a generous response. But his request 
for authorization to erect a chapel met with flat refusal from the Secretary 
of War who replied : 

The War Department expects Congress to provide appropriations 
for all necessary Army construction, and it is not considered desirable to 
accept private contributions for such purposes. Therefore, the request 
for authority to erect a chapel under the conditions stated in basic letter, 
is not favorably considered. ^^^ 

Chaplain C. A. Corcoran turned an abandoned building into a 
chapel in 1921. Tarskey "converted" an old mess hall in August of that 
year. Chaplain John N. McCann remodeled a temporary building into a 
chapel at Kelly Field in 1928. Other chaplains used gynasiums, theaters, 
and the open air. 

Equipment took a turn for the better \vhen a new Table of Equip- 
ment in 1923 authorized each chaplain "one field desk, regimental, con- 
taining a portable typewriter; one folding organ; 300 song books, religious 
and patriotic; chests as containers for books." "For semipermanent camps 
the following is authorized by Table V, Circular 324, War Department, 
1921 : One assembly tent; 4 tables, folding; 32 benches, folding (or chairs 
folding) . Not to exceed one tent with tables and benches, or chairs, will 
be issued to each organization to which a chaplain is assigned." "" The 
flag continued to be an item of issue and was described as of blue bunting, 
2 feet hoist by 3 feet fly, with a white Latin cross, 1 foot 6 inches in height, 
with arms 3 inches in width, in the center. "This flag \vill be used for field 
service only, and silently proclaims the progress of a divine service or the 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

40 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

presence and location of the chaplain, who usually occupies a tent not far 
from the headquarters of the unit with which he is serving." "° 

There was no description of a Jewish Chaplain's Flag because there 
was no Jewish Chaplain on active duty between the close of World War 
I and the build up of forces in 1940. The religious population of the 
Army in this period contained so few Jewish personnel that no rabbi was 
interested in the chaplaincy, although Jewish chaplains were authorized 
and had been since the Civil War. The history of Judaism in Europe was 
such that they perceived soldiers as instruments of the enemy. A military 
career was not an option chosen by many Jews. Families encouraged sons 
to enter nearly any other line of work. 

Religious tracts were very popular items during the war and immedi- 
ately after, and were provided by the churches under varying arrange- 
ments. Motion picture projectors, record players, slide projectors, 
stationery (for writing the folks back home), and books and magazines 
were frequently found in the chaplain's tent. There was great variety in 
how they were obtained and maintained. Sometimes unit funds and 
property were used, or organizations like the Red Cross, YMCA, and 
local churches provided equipment or funds. At other times the chaplains 
reached into their own pockets to provide for the men. 

Army Regulations No. 60-5 directed the "detail of such needed 
assistants to chaplains as may be deemed desirable and practicable." 
Translated into popular usage this gave the chaplain a "hunting license" 
to select a man best qualified for the position; he then conferred with 
the man's immediate commander as to availability for the position, after 
which the paper work was submitted. The manual gravely pointed out 
how serious the matter of selection was. It left the chaplain to his own 
devices as to how to pry a good man loose from an unsympathetic 

Memorials of World War I 

The chaplaincy of the 1 920s was directly influenced by lessons learned 
in "The Great War." The events of the decade were acted out within the 
shadow of that event. Several specific events memorialized the sacrifices 
of World War I chaplains. The Federal Council of Churches issued a 
Chaplain's Medal as an "expression of appreciation by the churches" to 
the 1,600 Protestant chaplains who served in the Army and Navy during 
the war. The same medal also went to President Wilson, Secretary Baker 
and Secretary Daniels."' 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


Secretary Weeks sent four chaplains to France in 1922, to the Ceme- 
terial Section of the Quartermaster Corps, for duty in the American 
National Cemeteries in France. Their main responsibility was to hold 
appropriate religious services at the reinterment of those who were moved 
to American cemeteries, and to minister to "the hundreds of Americans 
who are visiting the last resting places of their departed ones." "^ 

Father John J. Sullivan, chaplain for the Aviation Corps in France 
during the war, and known as "the original flying parson," flew around 
the country visiting the parents of aviators for whom he performed the 
burial service in France. This unique mission was permitted by a special 
order from Major General Mason M. Patrick, head of the Army Air 

The Chaplains' Cenotaph, a memorial tablet of bronze, containing 
the names of 23 chaplains killed in World War I, embedded in a large 
stone shaft, was unveiled on 5 May 1926 at Arlington National Ceme- 
tery. Paid for by voluntary funds raised within the ranks of the chaplaincy, 
the cenotaph was unveiled with proper ceremony presided over by chap- 
lains John N. McCormick, Jason N. Pierce, Morris S. Lazaron, and 
Francis P. Duffy."" (Father Duffy became the most famous of World 
War I Chaplains, and a statue in his memor\' was erected at Duffy Square 
in mid-town Manhattan. ) 

A Chaplain Is Pardoned 

The Prophet Nathan confronted King David with his sin. The 
question was often asked whether chaplains confront the system, or were 
so concerned with favorable efficiency reports that they knuckled under 
pressures to conform. Most chaplains who felt they could not validly 
minister quietly resigned. Chaplain C.A. Corcoran in 1922 apphed for 
separation because he had "become more or less ennuied with the mili- 
tary life." Axton in indorsing the request wrote, "If he has become en- 
nuied with military life, he may well be spared." "^ 

A more spectacular confrontation came in the person of Franz J. 
Feinler. Chaplain Feinler was convicted on 1 8 specifications of treason- 
able behavior during World War I. Feinler was born in Germany and 
entered the Army as a chaplain in 1909. He was sent to France, but "on 
account of statements attributed to him showing German sympathies" "^ 
was returned to the US. Intentions to courtmartial him were dropped 
and he was sent to Hawaii. There he was accused "of having uttered 
treasonable language and with having endeavored to dissuade men in the 
army from taking part in the \var against Germany." He was tried, 

See footnotes at end of -chapter. 

42 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

convicted, and sentenced to 15 years at hard labor. He was paroled 
after three years confinement, and one year later President Harding par- 
doned him and restored his citizenship.''' 


The Army in this period simply mirrored current public attitudes on 
the subject of minorities. The consciousness of ethnic rights had few 
champions even among the minorities themselves. Reasonable research 
uncovered no evidence that chaplains of this period spoke a prophetic 
word to the system. Their sermons and printed articles contained colored 
dialect stories that demeaned them as well as their listeners."* 

The pattern established in previous wars reasserted itself, namely, 
when manpower needs were critical the minority soldier was acceptable; 
the danger past, he was unacceptable and culled out. In World War I 
there were 400,000 blacks in the Army, 1,300 of them officers. Two 
decades later, on the eve of the Pearl Harbor attack, there were five 
black officers in the entire active Army. Three of them were chaplains. 
Eli Ginzberg stated 3,600 Regular Army enlisted men were black, repre- 
senting two per cent of the total; ''' Charles C. Moskos states that 5.9 
per cent of the total Army was black."" While the authors do not agree 
on the exact percentage they are in agreement that the number did not 
reflect the national population picture or the Negro potential for service. 
Between 1920-1940 one black, Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., graduated from 
West Point. 

Black American troops were rushed home from France. When French 
Marshal Foch questioned the policy. Major General Bullard sent word 
to Foch that he could not be responsible for what the Negroes might do 
to French women if allowed to remain.'" Upon coming home black 
soldiers were ordered off trains and busses, forced to strip off their uni- 
forms and medals. Seventy blacks were lynched in the first year after 
the war, including ten soldiers, some still in uniform. Fourteen blacks 
were burned publicly."^ Until the National Guard was organized. Regu- 
lar units were called out for race riots in many cities. A War Department 
letter of 12 July 1923, provided for use of Negroes in an emergency on a 
limited scale. It specified "No Negro troops are to be mobilized in the 
States of Texas." "' The thought about blacks for the next two decades 
was: 1. They were inferior. 2. They failed in combat in World War I. 
3. There would be serious problems of discipline and public relations be- 
cause of friction between blacks and whites if units were integrated/^" 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


There was concern among the chaplains to learn Spanish. Whether 
this was due to border duty along the Mexican boundary, or the Spanish 
still prevalent in the Philippines, or to minister to minorities, was not 
determined. At the Chaplains' School in 1922 eleven Regular chaplains 
studied Spanish in a class taught by another student.^'' Perhaps it marked 
a concern to reach out to those of a different background. 

There was concern by chaplains for individual soldiers, and they were 
viewed as proper subjects of their efforts at evangelism. There was social 
concern for families. One chaplain devised a plan to pay the wives of 
irresponsible servicemen two thirds of the soldier's salary. It was rejected. 
Another chaplain tried to protect his men from "moon shiners"; and in 
another case, from local law^ enforcement officials who discriminated 
against soldiers. ^^^ As an institution the chaplaincy failed to stand back 
and view the Army as a system that needed ministry and institutional 
evangelism. Perhaps it was too newly organized to think in terms of col- 
lective "clout." Traditionalists in other branches failed to gasp the sig- 
nificance of the airplane and tank. The social gospel in civilian churches 
was viewed with suspicion in this period, and in the Army as well. The 
feeling was that clergy should stick "to their preaching." Whatever the 
reasons, and however widespread the failure to grasp the problems of 
minorities and minister to the institution, the chaplaincy did not seize 
the opportunity. 


The 1920's saw the Army Chaplaincy get organized with the estab- 
lishment of the office of the Chief of Chaplains, and other supervisory 
chaplains at the various levels of command, that exerted professional 
leadership over those in their own profession. This w as in sharp contrast 
to the regimental parochialism that hampered individual chaplains from 
gaining perspective on the problems of ministering in and to the peculiar 
institution of the US Army. Regulations, circulars, and training manuals 
defined the duties of chaplains as clergymen rather than handymen. 
Promotion policies were brought into line with other branches and the 
status of chaplains was placed on a firm footing. The selection process 
by the denominations was tightened and the churches, through various 
board and agencies, grew closer to their previously orphaned chaplains 
and found ways to support and encourage them both individually and 
collectively. Some of that support found its way into legislation. 

The Chaplain School was founded; though it did not last, it marked 
a concern for training that would see the school revived and become an 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

44 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

important part of professional development. Equipment and assistants 
were furnished to chaplains to do their job, but still had a long way to 
go before either could be termed adequate. The shortage of chapel 
facilities hurt the chaplains' program. The Reserve program was or- 
ganized and continued to have an impact on the chaplaincy through 
conferences, reports, professional journals, extension courses, and 
summer training. Much had been accomplished, but many of the de- 
velopments were embryonic beginnings; some would grow, some would 
suffer reverses, and others would disappear altogether. 

The report of the General Commission for 1927 evaluated the 
changes seen. "When one compares the present status of the army chap- 
laincy with the old days, there is ample ground for gratification and 
encouragement. This is due, of course, to many causes, among them 
the exigencies created by the war." '^^ The report stated that there was 
much yet to be done, but "the chaplains are of a higher efficiency, have 
better equipment, have higher recognition in the service, better support 
from the church bodies, and are rendering finer service than was possible, 
even to the noblest of the former chaplains, many of whom became really 
great chaplains, despite the limitations imposed upon them." This ad- 
vance was seen in many posts in the gradual establishment of an office 
for the chaplain, in the building of chapels, and in the provision of the 
War Department for "the ultimate building of a chapel on every post," 
according to the report. 

Church attendance varied and in some cases was almost negligible. 
The chaplain, like many a pastor in civil life, rendered his service in large 
measure by other ways than pulpit exhortation. 

The report closed with two recommendations: "Ministers should 
take a much more decided interest in the Army Posts near them. The 
chaplain sometimes feels estranged from his own brother ministers." 
While McFarland, the Chairman of the Committee, found the chaplains' 
problems much the same as his brother ministers, the assumption that 
the chaplains' duties could be just as well performed by an outside 
civilian priest or minister was not a correct one. "Army life is necessarily 
different from ordinary civilian routine and the chaplain had to know 
and share that life, including its privations, to be accepted.''* 
Jorgensen wrote: 

"The work of chaplains between the wars, their personal dedi- 
cation to God and country which led them to render significant 
service in spite of meager physical resources — changed the attitude 
of the Army toward the chaplain and his duties." '°^ 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 



' Syndey E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People, (New Haven: Yale 
University Press, 1972), p. 895. 

'Ibid. p. 895-6. 

' Lucien Price, "Between Two Wars", Religion of Soldier and Sailor, edited by Willard L. 
Sparry, Volume II, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1945). p. 29. 

' Ibid. p. 26-31. 

"Maurice Matloff, Army Historical Series, American Military History, Reprinted and 
Partially Revised 1973, (Washington, D.C., Office of The Chief of Military History), p. 405. 

"Ibid. p. 405. 

'Ibid. p. 407-8. 

^ Ibid. p. 406-7 and Daniel B. Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 
1917-1946, (Washington, D.C. : Office Chief of Air Force Chaplains, 1961), p. 50. 

" Matloff, American Military History, p. 407. 

" Ibid. p. 407-8. 

" Ibid. p. 408. 

''Ibid. p. 409-410. 

" Paul D. Moody, 'The Precedent of the First World War," Religion of Soldier and Sailor, 
edited by Willard L. Sperry, p. 17. 

" Roy J. Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, (Washington, D.C: Office of the 
Chief of Chaplains, Department of the Army, 1958), p. 199. 

^'^Ibid. p. 199. 

" Moody, Religion of Soldier and Sailor, p. 12. 

" Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 200. 

" Moody, Religion of Soldier and Sailor, p. 12, 18-21. 

"Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 42. 

=" Ibid. p. 43. 

'' Ibid. p. 43. 

^" Moody, Religion of Soldier and Sailor, p. 17. 

■^ Hearing by the Subcommittee on Senate and House Committees on Military Affairs, 
16 April 1924, Washington, D.C, p. 12. 

"^ John J. Pershing, letter to Adjutant General, Washington, D.C, 23 October 1918, Box IV, 
Bishop Brent Collection, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 

"" Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army. p. 199. 

'' Ibid. p. 2Q\. 

'"Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units, 1917-1946, p. 48. 

"■^Ibid. p. 48. 

"'Roy J. Honeywell, "John Axton, First Chief of Chaplains," The Army and Navy Chaplain, 
July-August 1944, Vol. XIV, No. 1., p. 15, and Earl F. Stover, John T. Axton file. Historical 
Office, USACHCS, Ft. Wadsworth, SI, New York, and David Carey Shanks, They Passed 
Through The Port, (Washington, D.C: The Cary Publishing Co. 1927), p. 84-89, 92. 

^ "Col. John Thomas Axton, Former Chief of Chaplains," The Army Chaplain, October- 
November, 1934, Vol. IV, No. 2. p. 5. 

^^ Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 200. 

''The Chaplain's School Class Bulletin, (Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 1926), p. 5 and 14. 

^^ Charles S. McFarland, Report of the General Commission on Army and Navy Chaplains 
of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, (New York: Federal Council of 
Churches, -192 7), p. 11. 

^' Matthew 20:27, Holy Bible, King James Version. 

^ Col. John Thomas Axton, Former Chief of Chaplains, The Army Chaplain, October- 
November, 1934, Vol. IV, No. 2. p. 5. 

^'' Roy J. Honeywell, The Second Chief of Chaplains, The Army and Navy Chaplain, April- 
May 1945, Vol XV,' No. 4, p. 13. 

'' Ibid., and Earl F. Stover, file on Edmund P. Easterbrook, Historical Office, USACHCS, 
Ft. Wadsworth, SI, New York. 

46 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

"Colonel Edmund, P. Easterbrook, The Army Chaplain, April 1933, Vol. Ill, No. 4, p. 2, 
Honeywell, The Army arid Navy Chaplain, and Stover, Edmund P. Easterbrook. 

''Easterbrook Memorial Windows Unveiled, The Army Chaplain, October 1934 Vol IV 
No. 2., p. 4. 

"Made Chief Army Chaplain, The New York Times, 15 December, II, 6:2, Chief of 
Chaplains Julian E. Yates, The Army Chaplain, October 1930, Vol. I, No. 2, p. 3., A Message 
From the Chief of Chaplains, The Army Chaplain, April 1934, Vol. V, No. 4, p. 5, The Retiring 
Chief of Chaplains, The Army Chaplain, April 1934, Vol. V, No. 4, p. 7. 

" Honeywell, Chaplains of The United States Army, p. 201-202. 

'- Ibid. 

" Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 50 

" Ibid. p. 50. 

''Ibid. p. 52. 

*" Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 202. 

" Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 52. 

*^ Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 204. 

" Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units, 1917-1946, p. 52. 

"" Dwight David Eisenhower, At Ease, Reader's Digest Condensed Book, Volume III, (Pleas- 
antville. New York : The Reader's Digest Assn. 1967), p. 147-148. 

"* Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 206-7. Jorgensen, The Service of 
Chaplains to Army Air Units, p. 52. This course is discussed under the title "Other Training" in 
a later part of this chapter. Further training for Reserve Chaplains came with the development 
of the Civilian Conservation Corps and is presented under that title in the next chapter. 

""Training Manual, The Chaplain, His Place and Duties, (Washington D.C. : Government 
Printing Office, 1926), p. 6. 

^' Honeywell, Chaplains of The United States Army, p. 215- 

"* George B. Ford, interview, 10 Feb. 1976, New York City. 

^ Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 204. 

""Ibid., p. 204. 

"Ford, interview, and Bulletin; Commencement number. Chaplain's Service School, 13 De- 
cember, 1921, Camp Knox, Ky., Vol. 1, No. 3, p. 4. 

"'' Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 204. 

"■'Ibid., 204. 

""Ibid. 205. 

*^ Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains To Army Air Units, p. 56. 

'^" Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 209. 

''Ibid. 207. 

"Stover, Up From Handymen, The U.S. Army Chaplaincy, 1865-1920, (Washington: 
Office of The Chief of Chaplains, 1973 ) . 

^^ Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Visits 1917-1946, p. 63. 

•"= Ibid. p. 54. 

"" Ibid. p. 64. 

"' Ibid. p. 63. 

^'Ibid. p. 64-65. 

'"Ibid. p. 55. 

" Ibid. p. 57. 
'"-Ibid. p. 65. 

'' Ibid. p. 66. 

^' Ibid. p. 67. 
■^ Ibid. p. 64. 
•" Ibid. p. 68. 
'• Ibid. p. 76. 

"^ Training Manual, The Chaplain His Place and Duties, p. 26. 
" Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 197. 
**" Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 67. 
"^ Files of Chief of Chaplains Office, RG 96, Office of the Adjutant General, Central Files, 
1926-1939, p. 50, The National Archives, Washington, D.C. 

"^ Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 67. 


^'The Sentinel, Newspaper of The 15th Infantry Regiment, 18 Mar 1921 Tientsen, China, 
Vol III, No.; and 8 April 1921, Vol. Ill, No. 14, p. 3. 

''Ibid., 7 January 1921, Vol III, No. 1, p. 3, 4 March 1921, Vol III, No. 9, p. 7, and 18 
March 1921, Vol. Ill, No. 11, p. 12, 25 March 1921, Vol III, No. 12, p. 4. April 1921, Vol III, 
No. 13, p. 2, 9 December 1921, Vol. Ill, No. 49, p. 5, and 10 June 1921, Vol III, No. 23, p. 4. 
''Ibid., 15 July 1921, Vol. Ill, No. 28, p. 7, and 10 June 1921, Vol. Ill, No 23, p. 4. 
^ Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 58. 
" Edward A. Simon, The Influence of The American Protestant Churches on the Develop- 
ment of the Structure and Duties of The Army Chaplaincy, 1914-1962, Thesis, Princeton 
Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey, 1963, p. 53. 
■^^ Ibid., p. 5. 
"' Ibid., p. 60. 

*" Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 59. 
" Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 178-9. 
"" Ford, interview. 

^ Letter, undated. Box 4, Bishop Brent Collection, Rare Manuscripts Division, The Library 
of Congress, Washington, D.C. 

"* Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 179. 

°'' Letter from Chief of Chaplains to the Board to Consider Rank or Chaplains, 1926, RG 94, 
Office of the Adjutant General, Central Files, 1926-39. 

^ Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains To Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 57. 
"^Insignia of Rank for Chaplains, OCCH 421.7, 9 February, 1926, RG 94, Office of The 
Adjutant General, Central Files 1926-39, The National Archives, Washington, D.C. 

"' Report of the Board to Consider Rank for Chaplains, 1926, RG 94, Office of The Adjutant 
General, Central Files, 1926-39, p. 1-3. 

"^War Department, Circular No. 19, 19 March, 1926, RG 407 Records of the Adjutant 
General's Office. 1917. 

^•^ Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains To Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 57. 
'"'Letter from General John J. Pershing to Adjutant General, 23 October 1918, RG 407, 
Records of The Adjutant General's Office, 1917- . The National Archives, Washington, D.C. 

"'-Chief of Chaplains Service of the AEF, 1918-19, Final Report to the Adjutant General, 
26 April 1919, Box 3 Bishop Brent Collection. 

"" Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains To Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 76. 
'°* Ibid. p. 76. 

'^° Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 212-213. 

"^ Subcommittee of the Senate and House Committees on Military Affairs, Hearing, on 
S. 2532 and H.R. 7038, (Washington 1924). 
"' Ibid. 
"' Ibid. 
"" Ibid. 

"" Dwight David Eisenhower, At Ease, p. 141. 

''' Subcommittee Hearing of Senate and House Committees on MiHtary Affairs, 16 April 1924. 
"" Ibid., p. 8. 
'" Ibid. 
"* Ibid. 
"^'^ Ibid. 

'"George F. James, The Story of the Camps (Chicago: Military Training Camps Associa- 
tion of the United States 1926) , p. 5-6. 
"■ Ibid., p. 6. 

"^George F. James, Fifteen Years of CMTC (Chicago: Military Training Camps Associa- 
tion of the United States 1935 ) , p. 7. 
'''Ibid., p. 7. 

'^ James, The Story of the Camps, flyleaf. 

'-^George F. James, Eleven Years of CMTC (Chicago: Military Training Camps Associa- 
tion of the United States, 1931), p. 5. 

^' James, The Story of the Camps, p. 9. 

"^ McFarland, Report to the General Committee, p. 4. 

"'Defends Religion in Training Camps, The New York Times, 1 July 1925, p. 3-5. 

48 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

'=' Chaplain's Work in C.M.T. Camp, The Army Chaplain, January 1931, Vol II, No. 3, 
p. 13. 

^^ Training Camp Soldiers Must Go to Church, Chaplains Seek to Keep Men From Swearing, 
New York Times, 29 April 1925, p. 1 :2. 

^"' McFarland, Report to the General Committee, p. 3. 

'"-'Ibid., p. 5. 

''"Ibid., p. 5. 

"" Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 67. 

"^ Ibid. p. 72. 

'''Ibid p. 72. 

''^bid. p. 72. 

"' Ibid. p. Ti. 

""' War Department, Circular 58, Table III, 1923, Washington, D.C. 

"'' War Department, Circular 324, Table V, 192 1; Washington, D.C. 

'" War Medal For Wilson, New York Times, 6 October 1920, p. 14:7. 

"'■^ Chaplains Sent To France, New York Times, 5 April 1922, p. 2 : 6. 

""Pastor, in Plane, to Visit Kin of Aviators Killed in War, New York Times, 19 August 
1924, p. 19:2. 

^"' To Honor Chaplains, New York Times, 2 May 1955, p. 2:3, To Unveil Tablet to Army 
Chaplains, New York Times, 25 April 1926; p. 14:6, The Exercises of Unveiling the Chaplains' 
Memorial Tablet, 5 May 1926, Booklet, files of the Historical Office, USACHCS, Ft. Wadsworth, 
SI, New York. 

^'' Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 51. 

"'' President Pardons Franz J. Feinler, New York Times, 29 June 1921, p. 1:2. 

''' Ibid. 

^" The Sentinal. 

"•■'Eli Ginzberg, The Negro Potential, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1956), 
p. 62-64. 

""Charles C. Moskos, The Making of Black America, Edited by August Meier, and Elliott 
Rudwick, (New York: Atheneum, 1969), p. 428. 

"'Lee Nichols, Breakthrough on The Color Front (New York: Random House, 1954), 
p. 37. 

"*John Hope Franklin, From Slavery To Freedom (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 4th 
edition, 1974), p. 357. 

^'^ Nichols, Breakthrough on The Color Front, p. 37. 

'^'^ Ginzberg, The Negro Potential, p. 64. 

'"' Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 204. 

'■''-' Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 76. 

^"'McFarland,, Report To The General Commission on Army and Navy Chaplains, 1927, 
p. 12. 

'^'Ibid., p. 15. 

''"■' Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 77. 



Marking Time While Preparing, The 


The New Deal 

In the 1930's optimists viewed the period as "The New Deal", and 
pessimists regarded it as the time of 'The Great Depression." Following 
the 1929 stock market crash in America and a worldwide depression, 
the 1920's did not just go away, they burst like a champagne bubble and 
left America with a hangover. Scarcity of funds, pacifism, isolationism, 
concern with internal affairs and the economy, all had an effect on 
the Army and its chaplaincy. The chaplaincy started to become orga- 
nized, modern, and professional, but it was nearly strangled in its cradle 
ten years before its greatest opportunity and challenge, World War II. 

Sydney E. Ahlstrom wrote: "Fear, hunger, and finally desperation 
became the inevitable facts of life in an emergency that had no prece- 
dent in United States history." ' Across America and across class lines 
spread privation. Men stood in bread lines, selling apples on street corners, 
sleeping in subways and parks, even in city incinerators to keep warm. 
Armies of homeless youth and adults roamed the land while relief agen- 
cies ran out of money and morale and had to stand helplessly by while 
thousands suffered. Violence erupted in some communities where men 
chose to steal rather than watch their children starve. 

Lucien Price wrote of this period, "The eight years from 1931 to 
1939 in the L'nited State were an epoch at once of hope and apprehen- 
sion." ' Apprehension dated from the Japanese attack at Shanghai, Feb- 
ruary 1932; hope, since our own people were regaining confidence in 
themselves. The nation had been through a world war and an economic 
collapse, through an era of disenchantment, bitterness, and negation; 
had rallied, was learning how to work together for social reorganiza- 
tion which would gradually shift gears from excessive individualism 
to a moderate collectivization. Our labor movement was revitalized. 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


50 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

Two discoveries in opposite directions were made : we were wasting 
natural resources at an alarming rate, with dust bowls, share-croppers, 
squandered oil deposits; and at the same time there was a growing reali- 
zation of the immense power and strength of the nation, the United 
States became a world power, like it or not, prepared or not. 

Perceived after the events, signs and patterns were clearly discern- 
ible, but at the time people were confused and asked, "Whither?" Man- 
ners and mores that changed rapidly in the 1920's, which made the period 
a nightmare for conservative rural America, showed no signs of "get- 
ting back to normalcy." Despite the Depression, urban civilization con- 
tinued to make its conquests. The World War I song that asked, "How 
you gonna' keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Paree?" was 
a migratory anthem. 

The times seemed out of joint. Millions were hungry but the gov- 
ernment destroyed livestock, and plowed corn under, WPA workers 
leaned on their rakes, while famous bank robbers and racketeers made 
crime pay. The automobile changed traditional ways of living and lov- 
ing. Sabbath keeping lost ground. The repeal of Prohibition was a great 
blow to the self confidence and pride of conservative Protestant church- 
men. Even FDR's fireside chats failed to comfort some who believed that 
only drastic reversals could save the country from aliens and radicals.^ 

Frank Buchman, leader of the Moral Re- Armament (MRA) group 
was strongly anti-communist, but friendly toward fascism. He thanked 
God for Adolf Hitler, who "built a front line of defense against the Anti- 
Christ of Communism." * By the election of 1936 foreign policy issues 
returned to compound domestic difficulties. Japan began the occupation 
of Manchuria in 1931, and by 1936 extended its control in China proper. 
Mussolini assumed power in Italy, and in 1936 felt strong enough to 
conquer Ethiopia. Hitler rose to power in Germany even before Herbert 
Hoover left the White House, and in 1936 occupied the demilitarized 
Rhineland. In the same year the Nationalists brought civil war to Spain. ^ 
But America tried not to notice. Intellectual neutrality among the harsh 
alternatives of rising dictators, communism, or stricken democracies, 
was impossible. 

In the face of these developments the churches reacted in a wave of 
pacifism that demanded withdrawal of chaplains from the Army and 
reduction of armed forces, condemned war as a sin, and made no pro- 
vision for inevitable conflict. The Oxford Union peace pledge gained 
countless signers in the colleges and universities; The Fellowship of 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


Reconciliation flourished, especially in the seminaries, and prominent 
clergymen vowed never again to support "the war system." ° 

Two contraditory assumptions were held: that civilized nations 
would not resort to war; and that America could ignore the aggressions of 
the dictators with a clear conscience. As the world situation darkened, 
the pacifist consensus began to weaken. The question was, collective 
security, or nonintervention. As late as 1940 Roosevelt campaigned on a 
pledge to keep our boys home.^ 

The church in America did not know what to make of these events. 
The response was confused, halting, divided, and uncertain. Optimism 
and despair, vacillation and blind dogmatism, according to Ahlstrom, 
were more extreme in the Protestant churches than in American society 
as a whole.^ 

Rock Bottom for the Army 

The military could only reflect the mood of the country. And what 
was the Army like? William Manchester wrote, "those were dog days for 
professional soldiers." ^ It took twenty-two years to chmb from captain 
to major. Sheer boredom nearly drove Eisenhower to the point of resign- 
ing. Patton had been a major since 1919. He passed the time riding 
horses and won four hundred ribbons and two hundred cups. The U.S. 
Army was the sixteenth largest in the world, behind Czechoslovakia, 
Turkey, Spain, Romania, and Poland. Privates were paid $17.85 per 
month. When the forces patrolling the Mexican border, protecting U.S. 
possessions overseas, and committed to desk work, were accounted for — 
MacArthur had 30,000 troops left — fewer than the force King George 
sent to tame the rebellious American colonists in 1776. In a crisis the 
Army could have fielded 1,000 tanks, all obsolete; 1,509 aircraft, the 
fastest could fly 234 mph ; and a single mechanized regiment, organized 
at Fort Knox in the spring of 1932, led by cavalrymen on horses which 
wore mustard-gas-proof boots. There was one sedan in the entire Army.^° 

The Pacifist Tempest Grows 

The plight of the nation's economy dominated the events of the 
thirties. Economic history and military history were inextricably bound 
to one another. The size of the Army, training, planning, equipment, 
and priorities were determined in large measure by scarcity of funds. By 
itself, the state of the economy posed no threat to the chaplaincy; but 
combined with a growing pacifism that had started in the twenties ; and 
gained momentum and volume in the thirties, the threat to the life of 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

52 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

the chaplaincy was real. The Army was cut to the bone, and even some 
of the bones were severed. Continued attacks on the chaplaincy from 
pacifist elements of the churches had a direct effect in military circles. 
Many military leaders felt that chaplains were not wanted by an influ- 
ential segment of the religious world and were inclined to overlook their 
needs in favor of more pressing demands. General Craig, Army Chief of 
Staff, was an astute politician keenly aware of the relationship between 
public opinion and military strength. Craig was convinced that the 
churches were against chaplains. He pushed for a reduction in force of 
chaplain strength.'^ 

At the same time the Superintendent at West Point told the Army 
G-1 (Personnel) that he felt a Regular Army Chaplain did not have 
enough education or ability for the position of chaplain at the Academy, 
and retained a civilian Episcopal clergyman. The Superintendent shared 
the opinion promulgated by pacifists that only those clergymen volun- 
teered for duty who were not qualified for the civilian ministry or who 
had gotten into trouble. The idea that chaplains were clergymen who 
"couldn't make it on the outside" continued to be an evaluation they 
labored to dispell, even to the present.'" The modern chaplaincy, if out 
of its infancy, certainly was beseiged in its adolescence by earnest attempts 
to end its life altogether. The Literary Digest in 1933 reported: 

The Padre bent down to hear the dying soldier's prayer. . . . But 
there will be no more of that if a movement afoot to ask the churches 
to withdraw chaplains from the Army and Navy succeeds. 

The withdrawal was proposed to the trustees of the Church Peace 
Union and the World Alliance for International Friendship, which met 
recently at Atlantic City, "as an expression of the Church's abhorrence 
of war." " 

The churches remorse for the excessive militarism shown during 
World War I led to a widespread commitment to dogmatic Christian 
pacifism. The Federal Council of Churches greeted the United States 
Senate's consent to the Kellog-Briand Peace Pact with jubilation. Much 
of what was written and said after that revealed a real sense of corporate 
guilt. (Aft-er Lincoln was assassinated there were sermons about the evils 
of theatre going. When President Kennedy was shot, many a memorial 
service attempted to make the worshipper feel guilty, a part of the cli- 
mate of hate, as though the nation pulled the trigger, not one man — who 
carried to his death the reasons for his act. ) Somehow in the public mind 
or the clergy's, the church became responsible for World War I by not 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


Stopping it. Such was the apparent reading of the times, and the way 
out was to have nothing to do with the "war system." 
The Baltimore Southern Methodist said : 

There is more talking through the middle of the ministerial hat on 
the subject of war and disarmament than upon any topic which is to the 
fore today. During the late world conflict, everyone, even ministers had 
militaristic leanings, and many of the preachers now shouting loudly 
for peace at any price were then thundering death and destruction at 
the Germans, and were retailing tales of 'atrocities' which every college 
freshman know were being manufactured in quantity lots by French, 
British, and American propagandists.^* 

Ashamed of the general attitude of the ministry during the World 
War, and often astonished by the extravagant statements on the part of 
those who were there to proclaim the gospel of the Prince of Peace ; the 
pendulum swung the other way. As if in revulsion against the mud and 
blood era, the movement calling for disarmament, ". . . has been pushed 
to an extreme wherein men shout that 'all war is murder' and would tag 
such men as George Washington and the signers of the Declaration as 
guilty of their brother's blood." 

In 1930 Peter Ainslie, pastor of a Baltimore church, spoke out against 
Army chaplains in a sermon concerning the basically unchristian nature 
of war. He declared ". . . the position of the Army chaplain is in reality 
a wicked anachronism, and should be abolished." Ainslie concluded, 
"There is no more justification for being a chaplain in the Army or 
Navy, than there is for being a chaplain in a speakeasy." " 

The Reverend Dr. Jason Noble Pierce was pastor of the First Con- 
gregational Church, in which Ainslie's controversial sermon was preached. 
He wrote a letter to Ainslie picked up by the press, in which he said the 
United States and its churches were "maligned" by a statement that 
World War I was carried on by Christian nations ; that responsibility for 
it rested upon the Christian Church ; and that churches and nations were 
indifferent to right or wrong, but solely concerned with winning the war. 
"You referred to chaplains praying that their soldiers might shoot straight 
and kill all the enemy possible," he said. "My testimony as the senior 
chaplain of the Second Division, A.E.F., is that I never made and never 
heard such a prayer. Chaplains cared for the wounded and dying, both 
friend and foe." Pierce said that as president of the national organization 
of chaplains of the military services, he did not know of a chaplain who 
did not hate war and who did not "work and pray for peace." " 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

246-684 O - 78 

54 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

Chaplain Yates, the Chief of Chaplains, was also present for Ainslie's 
sermon and called it "pretty trying medicine." After listening to it he 
went to his office and wrote a "spirited reply," which he did not send. 
"I got my sentiments off my chest and upon more sober reflection did 
not deem it necessary to add my voice to that of Dr. Pierce other than 
orally." " The New York Herald Tribune denounced the sermon "as a 
blatantly outragous slander on the chaplains." '^ 

In 1933, at the meeting of the Church Peace Union and the World 
Alliance for International Friendship at Atlantic City, Ainslie made a 
proposal to refuse to authorize clergymen to serve as chaplains in war or 
in peacetime. Newton D. Baker, Secretary of War under President Wil- 
son, answered his proposal by testifying to the value of the chaplains' 
ministry in peace and war and said that the chaplain was as needed for 
the spiritual life of a regiment as "the clergyman is to the moral needs of 
a community." '® 

In 1931, Kirby Page sent a questionnaire to 53,000 of the 100,000 
clergymen in the United States and received 20,000 replies to the ques- 
tion about willingness to serve as chaplains. Jorgensen wrote : 

Seventeen percent (3,500) said they would not. The News of In- 
dianapolis, Indiana referred to these as The Page Army' and said the 
pool proved that chaplains were available. It is interesting to note that 
Page did not send the questionnaires to Jews, Catholics, Lutherans, 
Southern Baptists, or Southern Methodists, none of whom had joined 
the peace parade.^" 

In 1934 the Newark Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
voted against any member of the conference serving as an Army or Navy 
Chaplain. The Disciples of Christ, in their national convention at Kansas 
City in October 1936, voted to withdraw from the General Committee 
on Army and Navy Chaplains and petitioned the Federal Council of the 
Churches of Christ in America to disband it. The General Synod of the 
Evangelical and Reformed Church also withdrew from the Committee in 
the same year. To complicate the picture of church support and nonsup- 
port, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the National Baptist 
Convention of America both picked the year 1936 to become members 
of the Committee.^^ 

At a symposium held in a Brooklyn church, participants discussed 
the question, "Why do the radicals wish to abolish army and navy 
chaplains?" Pastor William Carter, a Reserve chaplain, said "It might be 
caused by radicals' desires to be against everything old, against religion 
and against patriotism." S. W. Salisbury, later Navy Chief of Chaplains, 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


was then stationed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard; as a participant in the 
symposium, he came closer to the heart of the matter with a suggestion 
that the opposition arose from ignorance of the chaplains' duties.'^ 

Hardly an issue of The Army Chaplain or the Christian Century 
appeared in this decade \\'ithout setting forth the two opposing positions. 
As a result of this opposition the chaplaincy had to struggle against an 
adverse public opinion which influenced military leaders, Brasted said 
that his "biggest problem as Chief of Chaplains was with the ultra- 
pacifists." ■' 

The opposition to the chaplaincy was based on five major points : 

1 . Churches should stop recommending ministers for the chaplaincy 
because the war system was against the Gospel. 

2. The Committee on Chaplains should be abolished, for it repre- 
sented a contradiction to the Church's stand against war. 

3. Chaplains should not wear the uniform or distinctive military 
insignia, have rank, or be paid by the government because officer status 
hurt his relation with both officers and enlisted men. 

4. The chaplaincy violated the principle of separation of church 
and state. '^ 

5. Chaplains were given additional duties which kept them from 
their ministry and held them captive to efficiency reports so that they 
were not free to prophetically confront the system. 

Those who stood by the chaplaincy held that : 

1 . To be unprepared for war invited rather than deterred it. 

2. While renouncing the horrors of war, they felt a responsibility to 
minister to those caught up in it. 

3. Rank, uniform, and status were not for the benefit of the indi- 
vidual chaplain, but to facilitate his better serving all men of the unit to 
which he was assigned. It gave him a professional relationship to the 
men and the use of military channels for helping them. 

4. The churches controlled their ministers in uniform, not the Army. 
Rarely was a chaplain asked to do anything that xiolated this principle, 
and still more rare was the chaplain who knuckled under. 

5. Chaplains, more than anyone else, agreed that their duties should 
be spiritual, not military."'' 

As a result of increasing criticism the Executive Committee of the 
Federal Council requested the Research Department to make a study of 
the chaplaincy, and questionnaires were sent out to all chaplains. At the 
same time the General Committee made its own study. Both were com- 
pleted in two years, and reported to the Executive Committee in the spring 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

56 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

of 1936. Joseph R. Sizoo, Chairman of the General Committee and author 
of its report, brought certain realities to light. He pointed out that no 
matter what differences of opinion were held, all were in essential agree- 
ment on the need for providing spiritual ministry to servicemen. He ques- 
tioned whether or not the denominations could provide the salaries, 
housing, transportation, medical care, and retirement benefits which were 
provided by the government. The report concluded, "Protestant Chris- 
tianity by continuing this Committee does not endorse war, or become 
part of the war system. It simply determines that an adequate spiritual 
ministry shall function vv^hile the service is maintained." ^'^ Theology was 
determined in the end by the reality of economics. 

In 1938, a follow up report recommended removal of rank and "con- 
tinuous study" of the chaplaincy. It also declared that a plan to replace 
military chaplains with civilians was impractical.^^ 

There was a belief among chaplains that they were not understood 
or appreciated even by their own denominations. The chairman of the 
Committee wrote a letter to all chaplains commenting on "the feeling 
that the chaplain and the ecclesiastical groups which he represents are 
drifting apart." "® The Chief of Chaplains felt the answer was to present 
a realistic picture of the chaplains' work. The church felt that the chaplain 
was a "captive"; and in Brasted's opinion the chaplains needed to let 
their supporters know that this was not the case. He wrote, "We should 
take advantage of every opportunity to present our work to civilian con- 
gregations and to make it clear that the Army chaplain is not handicapped 
in promoting the Kingdom of God and His righteousness." '^ 

The chaplains wanted practical help in another direction. Chaplain 
Carpenter wrote in 1937 : 

Someday I hope to have the experience and pleasure that could be 
mine were some civilian minister to write that one of his congregation was 
entering the Army, and commending that individual to the care of the 
chaplain for spiritual and religious needs. These soldiers talk so often of 
home, home churches, Sunday School teachers, their home ministers. 
There is so much of real worth that could he accomplished in cooperative 
efforts between the civilian minister and the Army chaplain to bring 
God's kingdom closer to the lives of the men in khaki. ^° 

The churches did move closer to their chaplains. The events in 
Europe, which threatened to involve the nation in war, reduced opposi- 
tion to the chaplaincy. The focus became, not whether to have a chap- 
laincy, but how the churches could best support a ministry to men in the 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


Besides the church, or a vocal part of it, \vhich spoke for the pacifists 
movement, there were many others. The Veterans of Foreign Wars cam- 
paigned for 25 milHon signatures to convince Congress of the need for 
neutraHty legislation. Among college students, military pacifism was 
something of a cult. Dr. Gallup reported that his latest poll showed 90% 
would fight only if America were invaded, and 10% said they would 
fight if America were not invaded. Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg swore 
never to send American boys to war under any circumstances. Senator 
Borah declared that it was all hysteria, manufactured, artificial, bluflF and 
jitterism. The Lone Eagle, Charles A. Lindbergh, told radio audiences 
that Americans should not be misguided by foreign propaganda into 
believing that "our frontiers lie in Europe." He felt that it was a quarrel 
arising out of the errors of the last war, and America should not get 
involved. ^^ 

The country's military establishment continued to shrink during 
Roosevelt's first term, until America had fewer soldiers than Henry Ford 
had auto workers. When the President visited Oahu a military exercise 
was staged in his honor. The spectacle turned into a travesty; half the 
trucks and seven of the twelve tanks (World War I models) broke down 
in front of the startled commander in chief.'" Dean Acheson quoted the 
old chestnut about American's lack of military preparedness, that God 
looks after children, drunkards, and the United States of America. 
Pacifism was a hope that helped prevent military preparedness. 

A Reduction in Force Contemplated 

Army planners looked at chaplain spaces and came up with a plan 
that would have annihilated the corps. A May 1932 issue of the Army and 
Navy Journal carried this report : 

"Virtual disintegration of the Chaplain corps of the Regular Army 
is threatened if the reductions contained in the Army Apportion Act are 
carried out. According to a study prepared by the War Department afTect- 
ing all arms and services, the Chaplain corps, under the proposed reduc- 
tion of 2,000 officers, will lose the services of 80 chaplains, approximately 
662/3 percent of the present authorized strength of the corps. . . ." '^ 

The plan called for age-in-grade retirements of first lieutenants at 
age 35. Because of college, seminary, and pastoral experience, the average 
age of chaplains coming into the Army was thirty or more. They had to 
serve five years in grade as a first lieutenant before becoming eligible for 
promotion, which meant they \vere almost automatically retired. "The 
retention of 40 chaplains . . . would be nothing short of a farce, and the 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

58 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

belief has been expressed by representative clergyman that it would be 
justifiable to remove the corps altogether rather than retain a member- 
ship so hopelessly inadequate to the need." ^* 

The article went on to list the names, denominations, and stations 
of those who would be axed under the plan; included were Colonel Julian 
E. Yates, then serving as Chief of Chaplains; Lieutenant Colonel Louis 
C. Carter, the highest ranking black chaplain; and Lieutenant Colonels 
Alva J. Brasted and Gynther Storaasli, destined to become future Chiefs 
of Chaplains in the Army and Air Force. It was a reduction in force (rif ) 
to end all rifs. Fortunately reason prevailed, and the plan was shelved ; in 
large part because of developments within the Civilian Conservation 
Corps, and because General Craig had misread the real feeling of the 
majority of churchmen who supported a ministry to the military. (See 
footnote 11.) 

The CCC and the Chaplaincy 

The most significant event of the decade for the Army chaplaincy 
was the development of the Civilian Conservation Corps (the CCC). 
More chaplains were on active duty with the CCC than with the Army. 
The number of Regular Army chaplains remained constant at 125, while 
more than 300 Reserve chaplains each year served the CCC during its 
zenith. The usual period of service for a Reservist was eighteen to twenty- 
four months. In the ten year period the CCC lasted, hundreds of chaplains 
received invaluable training; working with large numbers of men in 
camps, with a cross-section of American youth more varied than in a 
local parish. The CCC was not designed to save the chaplaincy, but it 
certainly helped. Public opinion backed the idea that something needed to 
be done about the economy and youth. CCC planning included a religious 
ministry by Army chaplains. 

John A. Salmond wrote that the CCC was created to meet two 
immediate needs : 

In the chaos of depression America, almost two million men and 
women had abandoned all pretense to settled existence and had simply 
taken to the road, traveling in freight cars or on foot, sleeping in caves or 
in shanty towns, aimlessly drifting in search of vanished security. Among 
them were 250,000 young people, 'the teenage tramps of America' as 
they were sometimes called, all . . . wandering the land looking for a 
future. The need to rescue them was critical. ^^ 

Even those who stayed off the road could not find jobs. Figures of 
unemployment among young people indicated that in 1932, of those 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four who were in the labor market, 
one in four was totally unemployed; a further twenty-one percent worked 
part time.^*' This was an American crisis. The government could not afford 
to ignore their plight. 

The second immediate problem was not people, but land. Forests 
once covered 800,000,000 acres of the continental United States, but by 
1933 were reduced to 1,000,000 acres of virgin timber. The destruction 
of the forests was followed by soil erosion. Three billion tons of the best 
soil washed away from fields and pastures each year. By 1934 a sixth of 
the continent was gone, or was going. Sections of the Great Plains were 
turned into a dust bowl.^' 

The Civilian Conservation Corps was thus, in one sense, a catalyst, 
and in another, a response. Through it a new President, Franklin Delano 
Roosevelt, brought together two wasted resources, the young men and 
the land, in an attempt to save both. Of all the New Deal agencies, the 
CCC was Roosevelt's most personal creation, and his most successful. ^^ 

The President directed the four Secretaries of War, Labor, Interior, 
and Agriculture to meet, which they did on 15 March 1933. Their 
planning determined that an enrollee would be paid one dollar per day; 
if he had dependents, he was required to make a monthly allotment to 
them. No age limit was set, and there was no provision against married 
men made at that time. All enrollments would be voluntary.^^ 

Salmond wrote that it was agreed "the Army's role \\ ould be con- 
fined to collecting the selected men, clothing them, giving them a physi- 
cal examination, conditioning them for about two weeks, and then trans- 
porting them to the various camps." The Army's Chief of Staff, General 
Douglas MacArthur, definitely stated that he contemplated "no mili- 
tary training whatsoever." The country would have opposed that, and 
the Army regarded the CCC as a diversion from its primary mission 
of winning the country's wars. The Department of Agriculture would 
take over the actual work of reforestation, conservation and construction 
projects. By March 24, though the CCC Bill itself was still in committee, 
the General Staff had drafted complete regulations governing the Army's 
role in the establishment and maintenance of the Corps. The regulations 
included the division of the country into nine Corps areas for administra- 
tive purposes. 

The Army was ready, but the Department of Agriculture wasn't. 
When the President disclosed his timetable and the huge number of men 
he wanted in the program, the Department simply lacked the needed 
personnel, funds, equipment, and expertise. The Army took over the 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

60 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

program in an expanded role : "to assume under the general supervision 
of the Director, complete and permanent control of the CCC project." *" 

The President signed the bill on 31 March 1933, issued Executive 
Order number 6101 on 5 April, and the Corps began its official existence. 
As things worked out, enrollees were officially between the ages of 18-25, 
single, and willing to send between $22 and $25 of their $30 per month 
to their dependents. In actual practice seventeen-year olds were admitted. 
Executive Order number 6129, 11 May 1933, authorized the enrollment 
of 25,000 WWI veterans. On 14 April 1933 the provisions of the Emer- 
gency Conservation Work program were extended to 14,400 American 
Indians, By July 1942, 88,439 of them had participated in the program 
and "were happy to be able to compete in this work with the white 
man." " 

The Army accomplished the largest peacetime mobilization of men 
the United States had ever seen. 1,300 camps were built, and within 
three months 274,375 men were at work. Their duties included emer- 
gency work in fire fighting, flood control, and relief work as a result of 
tornado, hurricane and blizzard/^ 

Robert Fechner, Director of Emergency Conservation Work, stated 
that "Roosevelt's Tree Army," as it was dubbed by the popular press, 
was created not just to grow trees, but to build men. In the same way, 
the CCC was seen as an agency to strengthen the morale of the male 
youth of the country, to build character, to snatch each one from what 
Chaplain E. R. Baublitz described as the "toboggan of idleness and 
laziness and consequent physical and moral degeneration, and set him 
in the way to new and wholesome growth of physique, mind and charac- 
ter. Indeed there is ample testimony for stating that many thousands 
of American young men have thus been saved from the ranks of pro- 
fessional bums and moral derelicts all too commonly found in our larger 
towns and cities." ^"^ Whether Chaplain Baublitz was aware of it or not 
it was that army of potential bums and derelicts that inadvertently 
"saved" the chaplaincy. By the mid-thirties 300 chaplains. Regular and 
Reserve, were on duty with the CCC. 

Alva J. Brasted, the Chief of Chaplains during the build up of the 

CCC wrote: 

It has been my good fortune to be closely associated with the re- 
ligious work of the Civilian Conservation Corps since this movement 
began ... for nine months as District Chaplain of 62 camps and since 
December 23, 1933, as Chief of Chaplains, supervising the religious 
work of all these camps as well as that in the regular army posts. To 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


go about the country visiting the C.C.C. personnel, giving character 
building lectures, holding conferences, hearing our religious work dis- 
cussed by those who are doing it, gives me a thrill and happiness which 
neither tongue nor pen can express. 

I speak not only for myself but for all our chaplains when I say 
that the most remarkable experience any man can have is to help these 
boys in their personal problems, and to direct them in the way of right 
thinking and right habits, in a word to help them develop in character 
and to become more like the men they want to be and ought to be.** 

The purpose of the religious w^orkers in the CCC was to conserve 
and to develop that character which is the hope of men and nations. As 
time permitted the CCC chaplain promoted athletics, educational work, 
and all good wholesome recreational activities; but belie\'ed that of all 
factors strong to advance the cause of character building, religion was 
the most potent. Brasted wrote, "The chaplain is in the camps to direct 
men to Him whom God has appointed to be the leader and commander 

f 55 45 

or men. 

Chaplain William R. Arnold, while at Fort Bliss, was asked by 
the general in charge of the CCC district including Texas, Arizona, and 
New Mexico to provide religious coverage for the camps. Arnold re- 
quested call-ups of Reserve chaplains; meanwhile, he himself attempted 
to serve 20 camps, traveling 2,000 miles per month. Richard Braunstien, 
(1st Lieutenant) Chaplain Reserve, working in the Binghamton Dis- 
trict, wrote an article called "The Circuit Rider Returns," in which he 
said, "The soul of Francis Asbury marches on . . . The CCC Chaplain 
makes history repeat itself in its best moods." ^" 

One day Arnold, a Catholic, met a fellow priest at a railroad station 
and asked what he was doing in that part of Texas. Jorgensen wrote : 

He said that he had come for his health. Arnold persuaded him to 
enter the reserves and help with CCC work. He volunteered, accepted 
a commission, and ser\ed 20 camps with distinction. When Arnold 
became Chief of Chaplains, he persuaded the priest to apply for a Reg- 
ular Army commission. However, the report of his physical examina- 
tion was marked "insufficient masticating teeth," for the priest had 19 
instead of the 20 required. When Arnold brought the matter up to 
the Surgeon General and to General Marshall, he was told, "It's 
up to you." Arnold replied, "He's one of the best. I want him to serve 
men as a chaplain — not bite them." 

The priest was Terence P. Finnegan, who became Chief of Air 
Force Chaplains in 1958. He and many others who served with dis- 
tinction in World War H entered military service by way of the CCC 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

62 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

When Brasted became Chief he requested permission to visit CCC 
camps throughout the United States and Hawaii. "He said there was a 
difference between knowing a chaplain — his work and problems — from 
his reports or from personally visiting him in the field. General Mac- 
Arthur and General Drum approved the plan, and Brasted took to the 
road. On one trip alone he put more than 15,000 miles on his car." In 
1936 Brasted stated in his annual report that he traveled "24,000 miles 
in 36 States, tTie Canal Zone and Puerto Rico . . . More than three fourths 
of this mileage has been covered without expense to the Government." 

After he retired and had attained the age of 82, he said of that 
experience : 

I will never forget visiting the camps in the Rockies — seeing the 
sunset as it can only be seen in the mountains, the coming of dusk, then 
the evening service with the men gathered around a camp fire. There 
was a holiness and grandeur in this experience which is difficult to de- 
scribe; it must be experienced.*® 

The CCC made itinerant ministry imperative. While the Chief 
requested the same ratio of chaplains to men as that of the Army, 
1/1,200, that was considered too expensive. Many civilian ministers, 
priests, and rabbis served camps without pay; still, chaplains were spread 
thin. Few camps were really large ; mostly, the men were in small work 
camps. Chaplain Paul Giegerich for example, from 1936 to 1940 never 
served less than 12 camps, each with 200 men, scattered over a dozen 
counties in Pennsylvania and Maryland. As a circuit-riding priest in uni- 
form he drove his own car over many miles of treacherous back roads, 
averaging 100 miles a day. He had no assistant. His equipment: an over- 
night bag and a mass kit.^^ More than one chaplain took a homesick or 
disturbed young man along on these trips. After shoveling snow drifts, 
passing out hymnals, and sweeping up a recreation hall, his personal 
problems seemed much less acute. ^^ 

One chaplain wrote: 

My camps are in the mountains and separated by great distances. 
The driver of the government car which had been placed at my disposal 
was a CCC boy. Near the end of summer after traveling many thousands 
of miles together, the boy broke out one day with these words: "Chap- 
lain, I wish I could be like you. You do not speak as I do. I have been 
in your home and as you talk with your son and your wife I have noted 
that your words and conversation are entirely different from anything 
I have ever known. I have always thought it smart to use rough vile 
language. But I see my mistake and I should like to talk and act like 
you." '^ 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


Another chaplain in the same state told about a boy who came into 
the CCC from a home where he was often beaten, kicked, and half star\'ed 
by a cruel and brutal stepfather. The chaplain said, "There is no 
reason to doubt the truth of his story." This boy who never knew kind- 
ness and lo\e from his father learned the characteristics of true father 
hood from his chaplain and company commander. The chaplain said, 
"This is our challenge. We must play father to all these boys. There are 
some boys here who never knew what it meant to have a loving father. 
Let us show them w^hat a real father can be to a boy. Let us advise them 
and train them and let them see what they have missed; and help them 
to make up in some measure what they have lost." "^ 

Chaplain Wilfred A. Munday, in sub-zero weather, drove with a 
clergy friend to notify relatives of the death of their son. The family 
lived 100 miles northeast of Bemidji, Minnesota, with no phone 
connections. The clergymen arrived, over icy roads, at t\\ o o'clock in the 
morning; after a heartbreaking half hour with the family, they fought a 
snow-storm all the way home, where they arrived at six a.m. "This is but 
one of many incidents in the life of a chaplain with the CCC in northern 
Minnesota; but we would not willingly exchange duty in the Chippewa 
Sub-District for any other location in the country." "^ A Vermont 
blizzard marooned one chaplain in a remote camp. With miles of road to 
be cleared before any vehicle could travel, he continued his rounds on 
snow shoes. Such conditions eventually brought casualties. Isaac F. 
Jones, injured in a motor accident while touring his camps, died on 21 
December 1936. John Marvin Dean died in November 1935 while on 
duty in Virginia and was buried in Arlington."* 

Rabbi Solomon Jacobson was a contract clergyman in the Ft. Sheri- 
dan, Illinois, CCC District, and a representative of the Jewish Welfare 
Board. He wrote about the importance of religion in the CCC for the 
Jewish enrollee : 

Here is a young man entering into camp. It may be the first time that he 
has ever been away from home. He harks back within himself to his 
family circle, to his coterie of friends, to his accustomed place of worship. 
A nostalgia overwhelms him for his wonted surroundings. What a relief 
to him when he uncovers in the camp a religious hour to sweep him into 
courage and a firm grip on himself ! W' hen he meets someone to whom 
he can confide his heart ! . . . Or here is a young man w'ho has been in 
camp for a number of months. He has become so thoroughly established 
in the routine of camp life and at the same time he has been so long 
removed from active participation in what goes on outside of camp that 
he hesitates, or fears, to think of the day when he will bid farewell to 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

64 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

his barracks and will have to plant his stakes elsewhere. But how often 
has such an enrollee drunk deeply from the waters of a religious service 
... a guiding sentence . . . and from such a contact . . . been stim- 
ulated with purpose and confidence reborn to enable him to step out and 
carve his niche. "^ 

Jacobson suggested that work with Jewish personnel differed from 
that with other religious groups in at least 3 ways: 1. Relatively small 
numbers, sometimes only one to a camp. 2. Visiting periods did not 
coincide with the Sunday time usually set aside, and a weeknight after 
duty was best. 3. More reliance on small, informal, flexible services, 
religious instruction classes, and discussion sessions. ^'^ 

When the CCC program began there was the usual temptation to use 
chaplains as educational officers and athletic directors. Many taught 
classes in everything from English Composition to Dramatics; others 
demonstrated athletic ability, or lack of it, as another way of getting 
close to the men. But gradually the emphasis \va.s more and more on that 
of the clergyman in uniform. Additional duties were taken up voluntarily 
by the talented and interested; but for the most part, chaplains were 
spread too thin to be anything more than clergy. Commanders seemed 
to get the message and chaplain after chaplain commented in reports 
or journals that they received outstanding cooperation. 

One chaplain said, "I have never had better cooperation in any 
church than I have in the C.C.C. The officers cooperate and give me a 
clear field. I feel that I am a minister of Jesus Christ and am treated as 
such. This does not mean I ignore the social element. I develop this as 
opportunity permits." " 

Brasted wrote, "The chaplain in the C.C.C. is just as much a pastor 
as when he was engaged as the pastor of a church. His interest is the soul 
welfare of all the persons belonging to the companies he serves, and it is 
good psychology and in accordance with God's word and experience to 
say that probably the most eflPective work that the chaplain does is 
accomplished through personal contacts. It is the personal touch that 
does most good." ^^ 

About the personal touch one chaplain wrote, "We do not leave 
camp without special permission from headquarters. We are expected to 
visit work projects and, as occasion offers, take lunch with the men at 
side camps and at work. It is believed that such visits, if not of a nature 
to interrupt the workers, make for easier contacts. They certainly afford 
the chaplain opportunity for gathering materials for lectures and talks. 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


No church committee has ever suggested to me as tight or rugged a 
program as that which we try to follow as C.C.C. chaplains." ^^ 

One chaplain observed, "While it can not be said that the boys of 
the C.C.C. are irreligious, a considerable percentage are not members of 
any church. In the district I serve, about 55 per cent of the enroUees are 
not church members. Taking the C.C.C. as a cross section of a large 
segment of the public, it becomes evident that the chaplains face a huge 
task before they as much as bring America to the feet of Christ. I fre- 
quently wonder how so many un-churched men could come from our 
over-churched communities." *'° 

A variety of approaches were used. Some wrote. Chaplain Alfred C. 
Oliver, Jr., of the Regular Army, and Chaplain Harold M. Dudley, of the 
Reserve Corps, collaborated on editing This New America, a book on the 
CCC.''^ The Honorable Harry H. Woodring, Secretary of War, said of 
this work: "The editors of this book have captured the spirit of the 
Civilian Conservation Corps. No one can read this book without voicing 
the gratitude of the republic to the President who so happily conceived 
and so successfully carried out this great undertaking." '^^ 

Others lectured. Intriguing titles showed the roots of the later 
Character Guidance Program. Some lectures were about "Foxes," how 
little traits may spoil good character; "Spiders," a habit is like a spider's 
web; others were entitled, "As a Man Thinketh," "America and the 
Sword," "A message to Garcia," "Lincoln," "Lincoln's Religion," 
"Washington and His Rules of Conduct," "Moral Laxity," "The 
American Home," "Ten Resolutions Based Upon The Ten Command- 
ments," "Preparations for Easter," and other patriotic, moralistic, and 
character-building themes. "^^ 

"Tri C Men" was a popular youth movement in the camps. It 
promised no organization, no pledges, and no dues. Also popular were 
"Sunday Clubs" which tried to get men to go to church and sometimes 
sponsored attendance contests among the companies. The Holy Name 
Society also flourished with its primary emphasis upon men cutting down 
on profanity.*'^ 

Movies were a popular form of entertainment, and important visual 
aids in educational or religious programs. Many chaplains used the new 
tools in imaginative ways. One used his camera to take movies of the 
men at work and play, then showed them in a recreation hall just before 
church ; it really worked as an attendance builder. A chaplain wrote : 

The screen has been a very great help to me in both the religious 
and secular field. I have a personal investment of close to $400 in equip- 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

66 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

ment for visual instruction. There is a Victor Steroptican and a set of 
181 colored Bible slides which I use quite regularly in the winter in 
connection with my religious work. I also use song slides and find that the 
boys like to sing from the screen. My 16mm projector serves a useful 
purpose, in addition to the educational program of the camps, through 
the showing of educational films, most of which are secured free of 
charge ; it serves also to increase the attendance at religious services which 
I hold after the films are shown. ''^ 

Under Brasted's capable direction and continued interest, involve- 
ment of chaplains in the CCC grew until, by its fifth birthday on 5 April 
1938, Reserve chaplains provided almost five times as many religious 
services as those conducted by Regular Army chaplains."*' The authorized 
strength of Regular Army chaplains was 125, but 338 Reserve chaplains 
were called to active duty in 1936 to serve the CCC. (For those in- 
terested in a statistical picture of services, etc., see Appendix B.) Impor- 
tant work was provided for 2,242,000 men, about 1,800,00 of them 
between 17 and 21 years of age. Individuals remained in camp an average 
of 9 months."' 

Chaplain Roy J. Honywell wrote : 

What this experience did for them in physical and mental develop- 
ment or in the growth of character is beyond computation by any human 
system of statistics. What it did for the Reserve chaplains was equally 
intangible but very real. They learned how to adapt themselves to an 
infinite variety of situations and to carry on their work without many aids 
which they would have considered indispensable in a civilian parish. 
They came to know a body of young men who were more representative 
of the youth of the country than any group in any home church. These 
factors may have outweighed even the formal training program of the 
Army when they were called to cope with the perplexing exigencies of 

Richard Braunstein a Reserve chaplain, first lieutenant, wrote of 
the CCC chaplain: "He comes closer to the literal dictum of St. Paul 
about being 'all things to all men' than any particular Sky Pilot you 
might name. . . He must be helper to all creeds, colors, tongues. He 
meets those who see eye to eye with him and he contacts many who fail 
to see — or refuse to see." And obliquely referring to the pacificist contro- 
versy surrounding them he added : 

It is the duty of the chaplain to take the message to Garcia. He is 
under orders. A little more discipline in the ranks of the ministry, a little 
more inclination to obey, a little more consecration and hardship among 
those who frown upon the uniform and who condemn the Army, a little 
more of the x\rmy background and gumption in all branches of civilian 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


life and the kingdom of God would be nearer to our thought and liv- 
ing. . . 'A soldier is more than a man who carries a gun.' . . . Milton said, 
"Peace hath her victories no less renowned than war." The C.C.C. is the 
Peace Army.*'^ 

No experience of the Army chaplaincy could be looked on with 
more satisfaction than its service to the Civilian Conservation Corps. 

Perhaps Ahlstrom best caught the mood of the times when he wTOte, 
"Yet amid the fallen idols a many sided revival of the spirit also occurred. 
Realizing that the whole country was in trouble, Americans gained a new 
kind of national self-awareness. Mutual distress drew people together." '° 
As people rediscovered each other many Americans found a new sense 
of solidarity and purpose ; laborers, farmers, small business men, the aged, 
and many others banded together. This sense of urgency took on religious 

The men who participated in CCC, and received the chaplains' 
ministry were also caught up in this spirit, revealed in such comments as 
the following: 

"It slowly dawned upon me as to the full significance of my part in 
the reforestation program," wrote Ray Johnston at Camp P-56 Durbin, 
West Virginia. "I was actually acting in the capacity of 'keeper,' — 
pledged to protect those trees from the dangers instigated by my thought- 
less fellow man. I was overwhelmed by the mere thought of being a 
benefactor and yet that is exacdy what I was. I was doing my humble 
part in a gigantic program to restore to our great continent that which 
God gave us but which a too enterprising man had taken. I was helping 
to make it possible, through the building of passable roads, for that man 
to see the greatness of God's handiwork with the hope that he might see 
how small and ordinary he was beside it. . . . Yes, I was truly a 
benefactor." ^^ 

Joseph Paul Jurasek wrote from Coram Montana, "The Army disci- 
pline is something wonderful also. Many slow careless, easy-going boys 
have been taught to handle matters with surprising efficiency. When they 
return home there will no longer be scattered caps, muddy tracks on the 
floor or newspapers on the rug for their mothers to worry about." '" 

One New Yorker broadened his perspective. William T. Miraglia 
observed from Nacher, Washington, "In being sent out West, I outgrew 
the narrow idea that New^ York was the center of the universe. I learned 
that as far as the United States of America is concerned, there is but one 
people, whose sufTerings, toils, and happiness are strangely akin." '^ 

"I'm not a great flag waver . . ." said James A. McMillen, at Camp 
Morgan, Malta, Ohio, "but when a government has treated you right. 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

68 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

you hate to see a lot of discouraged people sitting around believing that 
the old Ship of State is scuttled. . . . To have a proper respect for the 
government, a man must be a part of it. A jobless man is seldom a 
patriot." '* 

Harold H. Buckles wrote from Wyoming, "I was pretty low. It had 
been two years since I had a real job; I had thirty five cents, a brave and 
charming wife, and two pretty sweet little boys; and everything I had 
touched in two years had phooeyed out. The C.C.C. was ... a last 
hope. ... I shall hate to leave the boys who taught me that Christ was 
not all wrong about the human race." '" 

Problems of the CCC and Its Demise 

Being one of the many new departures of Roosevelt's first 100 days, 
the CCC drew criticism. William Green of the AFL said the CCC 
smacked "of fascism, of Hitlerism of a form of Sovietism." '^ Pacifists 
were bothered by it. When CCC boys were used to clean up Camp Pike, 
Arkansas, it was seen as "war preparation that may indicate the inten- 
tion of the United States to rush headlong into what they consider the 
impending conflict in Europe." " The Army opposed continued partici- 
pation in the CCC because it diverted attention, money, training and 
personnel from its primary mission. General McArthur asked that the 
responsibility be taken over by reserve officers. Tliere was also a morale 
problem in the ranks because the CCC boys were paid more than Army 

A very large flaw was the virtual exclusion of minorities from the 
CCC program. The act of 31 March, 1933 which gave the CCC legal 
existence, contained this clause: "That in employing citizens for the 
purpose of this Act, no discrimination shall be made on account of race, 
color, and creed." The intention was clearly to protect the rights of blacks 
to join the CCC organization, but the clause did not insure them full 
benefits from the newly created agency. '^ 

Black unemployment rates were double the national average in 
1933. Georgia's director of the CCC, John de la Perriere declared that, 
". . . there are few negro families . . . who need an income as great as $25 
a month in cash." John C. Huskinson of Florida reported, "on the basis 
of merit no negroes have yet been selected for the CCC." ^° The Army 
was segregated, and in taking over the CCC old patterns and myths 
prevailed. Many communities were afraid of large numbers of black 
males being stationed outside the town. Sexual fears for their wives and 
daughters, and charges of intoxication, peppered the letters of protest 
received by the director.^' In some cases, to ease racial tension, CCC 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


camps were moved into local Armiy installations. Of the 2,500,000 men 
who served in the CCC before it went out of existence, 200,000 were 

Chaplains commented on reports and in articles that there were 
peculiar differences in ministering to black enrollees; their music and 
worship practices were uniquely their own, and remedial education 
courses received greater attention. Chaplains also spoke up for blacks in 
the CCC in a public relations way, as being trustworthy members of 
society, and that the nearby white communities had nothing to fear from 
them. But black consciousness, integration, social protest and action, was 
not a part of the record, nor would it*be for more than two decades to 

Millions of trees were planted. Millions of men found work. An 
economy started to recover. The chaplaincy received invaluable training 
and gave immeasurable service. On 5 June 1942, the House voted against 
funding the CCC program further, and authorized $500,000 for its liqui- 
dation. On 26 June the Senate confirmed the House action and the 
program was no more. The economic crisis that created the CCC was 
over, employment was full, and the nation needed its manpower for war 
rather than conser\^ation. The CCC was no longer needed. 

Natural Disasters 

Among the most unpleasant aspects of the mid-1930's was the 
weather. During this period the Mississippi, Ohio, Potomac, Tennessee, 
Delaware, Connecticut, Missouri, Susquehanna, Columbia, Allegheny, 
and Merrimack Rivers flooded cities and towns. The Ohio River flood of 
1937 was the worst in the nation's history; it destroyed the homes of a 
half-million people. Floods and windstorms claimed the lives of 3,678 
persons. Winters were uncommonly bitter; Kansas, in the summer of 
1936, recorded almost sixty days of 100 degree heat. Prolonged drought 
and high winds combined to remove the topsoil of much of the Middle 
West in what were called "black blizzards." *^ In 1938 the most destruc- 
tive hurricane in American history struck New England and Long Island, 
the first since 23 September 1815. The American Red Cross reported 700 
killed, 1,754 injured, and 63,000 who lost their homes. President Roose- 
velt sent 100,000 men from the Army, Coast Guard, and the WPA, to 
aid the victims.^* 

Because the Army responded to these disasters, so did their chaplains. 
As a result of the Ohio River flood some 1,200 refugees were concentrated 
at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Chaplains Elder and Wennermark ministered 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

246-684 O - 78 - 6 

70 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

to them with religious services and all manner of welfare work. The Fort 
Knox Chaplain's Auxiliary rendered outstanding service under the lead- 
ership of Mrs. Daniel Van Voorhis. Chaplain A. F. Vaughn, Barksdale 
Field, Louisiana, raised about a thousand dollars for flood relief. 

At Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, a concentration point for trucks and 
truck drivers, Chaplain W. B. Zimmerman devoted a great deal of time 
arranging entertainment for these men. The Army Chaplain reported that 
F. R. Arnold, a Reservist from Cincinnati, Ohio, "conducted many 
hundreds of interviews with individuals who were heartbroken over what 
had happened to them, persons facing rehabilitation with all their belong- 
ings destroyed. More than 2,000 refugees were brought to the building 
where Chaplain Arnold had his headquarters. Many refugees had fled 
from their homes with nothing more than they wore." ®^ 

Chaplain H. G. Vorsheim Jr., Portsmouth, Ohio, was pastor of one 
of the city's congregations whose church buildings remained above water. 
The congregation and its neighbors volunteered their services and fed and 
cared for the refugees as they came out of the water. Meals were served 
the first day of the flood, Vorsheim ordered supplies to feed 200 for two 
days and drove through water to purchase 450 pounds of meat to feed 
them, but the 200 increased to 400 while he was gone. Clothing was also 
provided, and religious services were held daily in the Central Presby- 
terian Church throughout the flood period of two weeks. ^^ 

Chaplain C. Q. Jones, Army Reserve, on duty with the CCC reported 
for flood duty at Maysville, Kentucky, and was given the task of super- 
vising Military Police. Jones got the evacuation traffic straightened out, 
set up security, and then rode with rescue boats for several days.^^ 

Chaplain D. R. Covell, National Guard, organized the relief work of 
almost eighty Episcopal congregations scattered through southern Ohio. 
Working days and many nights over a period of seventeen days, Covell 
wrote, "In times of emergency, as well as many other times, may I a 
member of the cloth say that, 'there is nothing like the Army.' " A. L. 
McKnight, a Reserve chaplain of Louisville, Kentucky, organized the 
students of Louisville Baptist Theological Seminary for rescue work. They 
helped rescue, innoculate and house more than 6,000 people. McKnight 
said "If it had not been for my training received in the chaplaincy, I would 
not have directed this work as I did. By this work I feel that there has been 
created a greater appreciation among the Faculty and Students ... for 
the chaplaincy." ^* 

Chaplain G. F. Hyde rendered a detailed report covering two weeks 
of service at Wynee, Arkansas; where he served a refugee camp of 2,500, 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


and at Harrisburg a refugee camp and hospital of 500, along with the 
base hospital at Vaundale, with some 80 patients. It was his sad lot to 
conduct many funerals of persons who lost their lives in this disaster.^^ 

Chaplain Thomas P. Bermingham, with the CCC, ministered at 
Cairo, Illinois, securing a vast amount of supplies for sufferers and render- 
ing innumerable other services. A report said, "He was going both days 
and nights." ''° On 14 February he celebrated a Thanksgiving Mass at 
St. Joseph's Church "All available space in the church was occupied." 
The report continued, "Chaplain M. M. D. Perdue, Reserve, at Owens- 
boro, Kentucky, with the aid of assistants in his church collected and dis- 
tributed hundreds of articles in the way of clothing to colored refugees, 
and assisted families in evacuating their homes, collected and distributed 
money to refugees, ministered to the sick in hospitals, etc." 

Chaplain Perdue said that, "The greatest return was to note that in 
the presence of alarm, when human agencies were of no avail, that men 
gained a new- respect for the majesty and power of God, as compared \vith 
human frailty. Though a major disaster, as we think of things material, 
the flood was a veritable spiritual blessing." ^^ 

A disaster of another sort was mentioned by Honeywell, "One chap- 
lain spent a month wifh 1,800 men on an island in Lake Superior fighting 
a stubborn forest fire. His message was doubly welcome amid the clouds 
of smoke." '' 


Throughout this period successive Chiefs of Chaplains were aware 
of the need for chapels, and attempted to gain funds for them. Money 
was tight, and the Chief's Annual Report of 1932 pointed out that 
troop housing and hospitals had priority over chapel building; he urged 
chaplains to be innovative in providing places of worship, and using 
whatever buildings could be scrounged and converted. Unfortunately, 
at the same time that one Chief tried to move the keepers of the purse to 
provide building funds, chapels at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and Fort 
Sheridan, Illinois, which w^re destroyed by fire in 1931.°^ 

During the 1930's several chapels were built from WPA funds. 
Though legislation precluded use of WPA funds for national defense, 
Harry Hopkins, Administrator of the WPA, asked military leaders for 
their recommendations on urgently needed construction; based on the 
rationale of providing work for the unemployed, runways, barracks, 
and other buildings, including a few service clubs and chapels, were 
constructed. Nine chapels were under construction in 1934-35. The 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

72 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

chapel at Randolph Field, Texas, was dedicated on 2 September 1934, 
in a ceremony conducted by Post Chaplain George McMurray.®* The 
Langley Field Chapel was dedicated 16 June 1935, while Ralph W. 
Rogers was Post Chaplain. Of Tudor Gothic design, it was built at a 
cost of $110,000 including the organ. Chaplain Brasted in his address 
said : "The success of a chaplain depends in no small measure upon hav- 
ing a plant altogether adequate for the promotion of his entire character 
building program. These fully appointed and most beautiful houses of 
worship which have been recently built and dedicated are a contribution 
of inestimable value to our moral and religious work," ^^ 

When Arnold became Chief, he arranged for coordination of chapel 
plans so they would have the written approval of his office before being 
released to contractors. He wrote Chaplain Griffin in August 1938, "We 
have already headed off some monstrosities." ^'^ 

The April 1935 issue of The Army Chaplain, featured a cover story 
on the construction of new chapels at Fort Bragg, N.C.; Langley Field, 
Va.; Randolph Field, Texas; Fort Sill, Okla.; Presidio, San Francisco; 
Fort Benning, Ga.; Fort Myer, Va. and Fort Lewis, Washington.'" 

In most places chaplains had to "make do" with recreation and mess 
halls, hangars, and whatever could be scrounged. Chaplain Frank L. 
Miller was instrumental in transforming a building into a chapel at Luke 
Field, Hawaii. Ernest W. Wood did the same with a school room at 
Mitchell Field. The ladies of the post made curtains from parachutes. 
Charles F. Graeser showed his ingenuity and sense of humor, when he 
wrote to Yates in 1930: 

Prior to being turned over to me, this building was used as a shop 
in which a paint material known as "dope" was spread on the airplane 
wings, and hence was known in the vernacular of the Post as the Dope 
Shop. Far be it from me to maintain that it might not properly be called 
that even yet, despite the fact that I have the Post Chapel sign on the 
front. . . . The surrounding buildings are various structures in disarray, 
and all stages of disrepair. . . . This together with the fact that we are 
located extremely far from quarters and barracks, does not work to religi- 
ous advantage. 

Yet in these surroundings Graeser built up a flourishing Sunday 
School and a worship service with an attendance of 300."^ 

Institutional Developments and Setbacks 

The 1920's saw the chaplaincy get organized. The 1930's were 
marked by the institution reacting to outside events. The Depression, 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


the lack of funds, pacifism, the creation of the CCC, the responses to 
natural disaster, and the growing signs of war in Europe, were not pro- 
grammed. They occurred outside the scope of the Chief of Chaplains 
Office. The institutional picture was not an orderly growth toward pro- 
grammed goals. They were setbacks and defeats. 

The Chaplain School closed for lack of students. Existing in name 
only, the school continued to mail out extension courses, but did no resi- 
dent training. The status of chaplains' assistants continued to be a hit 
and miss process of "body snatching." Precious little help in the way of 
training manuals, directives, and supplies ever reached the chaplain in 
the field. In 1933 several chaplains recommended the hymnal be revised 
to include "more songs appropriate for Sunday School ..." but this 
project was not completed until World War IL"" In spite of the regu- 
lation stating that commanders were responsible for religious services 
of their commands, Jorgensen wrote: "Wright as late as 1938 was able 
to say that he had been in the service over 20 years and had never 
preached in a chapel." Congress wouldn't appropriate funds for chapels, 
and chaplains were not allowed to solicit funds without War Depart- 
ment approval. By 1939 only 17 permanent chapels had been built at 
Army posts in the history of our country.^"" 

Religious coverage was a serious problem. Many posts did not have 
the service of a chaplain, practically none had both Protestant and 
Catholic coverage, much less Jewish chaplains."" Although the ratio of 
one chaplain to 1,200 officers and men looked good on paper. Chaplain 
Silas E. Decker's experience was typical in that he served a total per- 
sonnel of 3,700 including dependents at Langley Field in 1938.^"' 
Chaplain supervision of those in their profession did not carry much 
weight. In 1936 regulations forbade chaplains from evaluating other 
chaplains on Officer Efficiency Reports. Fears of sectarian prejudice still 
hampered even the Chief of Chaplains from doing more than giving 
advice. Supervision was approached cautiously. 

When arrangements for providing religious coverage were made it 
was handled on a local level. It depended too much on the personalities 
of the local chaplains. A Catholic chaplain and a Protestant chaplain 
assigned to posts nearby one another might swap "services." In 1934 the 
Chief of Chaplains wrote Claude S. Harkey, at Brooks Field, suggesting 
a coverage plan, but the wording could hardly be called forceful or 
directive in nature: 

Possibly we wrote you, unofficially of course, suggesting the possi- 
bility of taking some responsibility for Protestant work at Kelly Field 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

74 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

and Chaplain Martin at Kelly in turn assisting in the Catholic work at 

Of course, we in this office have nothing to say about administration 
in the different posts. ... 

A conference between Martin and Harkey under the supervision of 
the Corps Area senior chaplain resulted in no coverage. During a period 
of illness for Harkey, a Staff Sergeant Blair conducted services at Brooks."^ 

The Chiefs had their hands full warding off attacks, and hanging 
on to what had been gained. While the number of chaplains on active 
duty increased, and a competent ministry was given, no great strides 
forward occurred in the institutional life of the chaplaincy. There were 
no new plans for mobilization beyond those of the twenties; and a 
test of that limited objective, a goal of 1,870 chaplains, failed. The 
thirties atmosphere on most Army posts was somnolent. A false sense of 
security, provided by two oceans, lulled the country and its military 

The Chiefs of Chaplains 

Julian E. Yates became Chief of Chaplains in 1929 and served until 
1933. Alva J. Brasted was Chief from 1933-1937, and William R. Arnold 
from 1937-1945. 

Chaplain Yates was born at Williams Mills, North Carolina, 23 
October 1871. He graduated from Wake Forest College, North Caro- 
lina, with an A.B. degree, then an A.M. degree; he earned a Th.B. degree 
from the University of Chicago. He was a member of the Baptist Church 

Appointed a chaplain, in the grade of captain, on 13 March 1902, 
he was first assigned to Fort Leavenworth with an artillery unit. In 
May of the same year, he sailed for the Philippines and was assigned 
to Passay Garrison, Manila, with the 14th and 15th batteries, Field 
Artillery. He returned to the United States in December 1904 and was 
assigned to Fort Terry, New York. In 1907, he was transferred to Fort 
McHenry, Maryland. There he served as librarian and conducted schools 
for enlisted men in addition to his pastoral responsibilities, a common 
practice during that period. He next served a brief tour at Fort Howard, 
Maryland, and then at Fort Hancock, New Jersey. He served at Fort 
Washington, Maryland and Fort Adams, Rhode Island. In August 1917 
he sailed for France, again with artilley, and stayed until 1919. 

Upon his return from overseas he served at Camps Stuart and Eustis, 
Virginia. On 8 May 1919 he was promoted to major, temporary, and 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


on 27 October was ordered to duty in the War Plans Division, War 
Department, as Assistant to Officer in Charge of Moral Training. 

In this period "temporary" meant temporary, and on 13 March 
1920 he reverted to his regular rank of captain; he was promoted to 
major again in June of the same year. In October 1920 he was ordered 
to duty in the office of the Chief of Chaplains; he served there a little 
over one year, then became post chaplain at Fort Myer, Virginia. He 
was promoted to lieutenant colonel and detailed to the Chief's office as 
executive officer. From there he went to Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, as 
post and regimental chaplain, .6th U.S. Cavalry. On 23 December 1929, 
he was appointed Chief of Chaplains, with the grade of colonel."* 

During his incumbency as Chief, the Annual Report noted that the 
reserve section was "steadily increased and greatly improved in espirit de 
corps." The Mihtary Chaplains' Association began, and a periodical. 
The Army Chaplain, appeared. Training was revised to include post- 
graduate study at the University of Chicago or at the Catholic Univer- 
sity of America. The Army and Navy Hymnal came into being as a result 
of his efforts while on duty with the War Plans Division."" In 1931, 
the Annual Report revealed that correspondence and paper work 
increased considerably as a closer relationship with the denominations 
developed. It was reported that due to the pacifist controversy "religious 
leaders look to the Chief ... for official information and explanation . . .," 
which increased the mail to "approximately 507,696 pieces per 
annum." ''' 

On 23 December 1933, Chaplain Alva J. Brasted became the fourth 
Chief of Chaplains, the second Baptist to hold the office. He was born 
at Findley's Lake, New York, on 5 July 1876. He graduated from Des 
Moines College in 1902, and from the University of Chicago Theological 
School in 1905. He was appointed a chaplain, first lieutenant, in the Reg- 
ular Army in 1913 and assigned to the Coast Artillery, Fort Hancock, 
New Jersey. In 1914 and 1915 he served at Fort Screven, Georgia. 
From 19 16 until 1919 he was regimental chaplain with the 8th U.S. Infan- 
try in the Philippines and in the AEF. After the World War, Chaplain 
Brasted served at Camp Lee, Virginia, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and 
then returned to the Philippines as hospital chaplain at Sternberg Gen- 
eral Hospital. Back in the United States he served at Fort Logan, Colo- 
rado, and Fort Snelling, Minnesota. 

He was faced with the task of providing ministry to the newly 
organized CCC and traveled extensively visiting Army posts and CCC 
camps. A noted lecturer, he continued the emphasis upon moral talks to 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

76 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

the men. After evening talks he was delighted to autograph the Bibles 
and New Testaments the men brought.^*'' Under his capable direction 
the number of chaplains on active duty nearly tripled. 

The Chief's Annual Report of 1934 revealed 200 reserve chaplains 
in forestry camps. There were three black chaplains on active duty, 1,200 
Reserves; the average age of active duty chaplains was 49 and, "The 
corps is presumed to be in rigorous health. Only four of its numbers 
failed to meet the physical requirements of the medical examinining 
board during the year." The length of the tour for foreign service was 
cut from three to two years, which the Chief pronounced "very salutary." 
53,844 Army & Navy Hymnals were distributed to the CCC along with 
40,000 Testaments and 250 Bibles from the American Bible Society. The 
Chaplains' Aid Association sent one Douay Version to the library of each 

Under the heading, "Morale of Chaplains," The Army and Navy 
Register quoted him as saying, "Morale is exceedingly high. . . . The 
chaplains are hardworking, contented, and happy and not easily stam- 
peded by salary cuts, cessation of promotion, and rumors of elimination. 
These adverse situations and menaces, however, cannot fail to work as a 
great detriment to morale should they persist." "® 

Chaplain Brasted was a delightful man who took many things seri- 
ously, but never himself. He once visited the Chief's Office and picked 
out an assignment that was considered the worst on the list. He accepted 
is as a challenge; others, hearing about it, thought he had been punished 
and wondered what he had done wrong. '^^ Soldiers felt free to bring their 
problems to him. One complained of sore feet, and Brasted's wife wrote, 
"So Alva went with him to supply to get a better-fitting pair of shoes." 

He brought the only tuxedo he had ever owned while Chief of 
Chaplains as he was expected to wear it to White House functions. The 
Chief's office was in the Munitions Building on Constitution Avenue, and 
his wife said he went off to work with the eagerness of a boy going 
out to play. He retired, came out of retirement to serve on active duty 
during World War H, and retired a second time on 30 September 1943. 
His life is the subject of a biography entitled. Soldier of God, written by 
his wife Evelyn.^" 

Chaplain William R. Arnold succeeded Brasted as Chief of Chap- 
lains in December 1937. Because his career as Chief of Chaplains spanned 
nearly all of World War H he will be discussed at length in the next 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


Activities of Chaplains 

Some historians ha\'e pointed out that history is not only events, but 
people. Amid the economic, political, and ideological forces that shaped 
the nation, the Army, and the chaplaincy ; individual chaplains went on 
doing their day to day ministr}^ throughout this period. 

Chaplain (LTC) Edward L. Branham at Fort Sill was made, not a 
chief but an Indian. Mike Bigcow an elder of the Comanche Tribe, 
presented Branham with an Indian headdress, which signified acceptance 
into the tribe. Branham was also christened "Swave-Ex-Sap-a-Na," 
(Soldier of the Cross.) The unusual ceremony was held 29 October 
1936, and honored Branham for his work with the Indians. Native dances 
and songs were presented by very small Comanche Indian students of 
the Fort Sill Boarding School. Elder Bigcow then addressed sixty mem- 
bers of the Kiwanis Club, with Robert Coffey translating: 

People it makes me glad to see you and causes a feeling of friend- 
ship in my heart when I meet you as brothers. . . . Our forefathers have 
taught us to be brave, honest, and truthful. With the guidance of such 
men as Colonel Branham the Indians have seen the light of hope. 

Branham responded that he had enjoyed his five years of work with 
these "100 percent Americans" and expressed pleasure about his induc- 
tion into the tribe."" 

While supervision was not strong, that was interpreted by some as a 
good thing, in that it gave individuals more freedom to express their own 
creative ministries. Those ministries were taking new forms. Chaplain 
Ivan L. Bennet of Fort Monroe, Virginia, started a garrison church. A 
group organized, took in members, granted letters of transfer to other 
churches, and were "organized on the basis of a program of activity 
rather than upon a unity of creed." Annual Reports revealed that the 
practice spread and was approved. Jorgenson wrote, "The reason that 
this organization with so much promise declined and practically disap- 
peared is that there was no centralized guidance for its implementation 
and operation. Also, chaplains were careful to avoid any organizational 
plan which would even appear to set up a government church. Some 
civilian pastors denounced it as such. . . ." "^ Roy Parker, at Fort Riley, 
Kansas, sponsored an attendance contest with a local church to see who 
could get the largest turnout for church. It built attendance from 100 
to 300.^" 

Some expanded their ministry through writing, or developed a radio 
ministry. Alva J. Brasted, Fort Logan, Colorado, conducted broadcasts 
over station KFXF in Denver. "Among especially interested radio fans 

See footnotes at end of chapter 

78 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

who listened in were the patients of Fitzimmons General Hospital." C.C. 
Nelson was doing the same thing at station KSL, Salt Lake City, Utah, 
and claimed 150,000 listeners; musical numbers were supplied by the 
National Guard Band of his regiment."' writers included Lyle Douglas 
Utts, who wrote a brochure "The Land of Counterpane," which was 
described as "very helpful to people in suffering and distress"; Edwin 
Burling wrote about the activities of 200 chaplains who went to summer 
camp (CMTC) in the early thirties. Hal C. Head described hfe aboard 
the Army transport. Republic."" Nathaniel L. Jones wrote Where Cross 
the Crowded Ways, a book of sonnets that appeared in 1936."' R. Earl 
Boyd became the editor of The Army Chaplain.^^^ A number of other 
chaplains edited regimental or post newspapers to increase their outreach. 
Henry N. Blanchard, Carlisle Barracks, served as editor of the post news- 
paper. Esprit de Corps.'''' Some were students. Milton O. Beebe, P.C. 
Schroder, J.H. August Borleis, and Hudson B, Phillips were in the gradu- 
ate study program at the University of Chicago.'"" 

Some chaplains felt that their best preaching was deeds rather than 
words. They helped soldiers in many practical ways. Chaplain A.C. 
Oliver, Jr., arrived at his station in Tientsin, China, with ten mail bags 
full of comfort kits for the men of the 15th Regiment. They were pro- 
vided by The Women's Christian Temperance Union.''' 

Chaplain E.J, Griffith stepped in to help his men in a very practical 
way at Fort Meade, Maryland. The Second Tank Regiment was 
disbanded and the component parts transferred to other posts. Involved 
in the transfer were thirty-three enlisted men, in grades too low to qualify 
for government transportation of household goods or family travel allow- 
ances. With the approval of the commander, Griffin raised funds through 
contributions, entertainments, and appeals to charitable organizations. 
When the 34th Infantry moved into the tank regiment's place, and the 
lower grades were required to rent quarters off post, Griffin worked with 
the ladies of the post to set up a Post Welfare Organization, including a 
clothing exchange for children.'" Young men went to CMTC in the 
summer. Chaplains accompanied them and found short cuts to demon- 
strate their concern. Chaplain Burling wrote, "one of the chaplains' 
activities most appreciated by the young men was the establishment of 
banks, which provided not only for the safe deposit of money, but also 
for the care of other valuable personal articles. This depository was 
generally located in the chaplain's office, where, also, stamps and sta- 
tionery could be procured and letters mailed. The advantages of such 
arrangements are so obvious as to need little comment." '" 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


Some chaplains were travelers, whether for duty or for relaxation 
Chaplain N.A. Jones accompanied the 31st Infantry on the "Shanghai 
Emergency." '"' Ignatius Fealey flew by China Clipper to Manila to 
attend the Euchiaristic Congress in February 1936. N.M. Ylvisaker had a 
forty-five minute audience, his second with the King of Norway.'^' The 
Army Chaplain reported: 

Major Genera] William G. Everson. pastor emeritus of the First 
Baptist Church, Muncie, Indiana, and present Chief of the Militia Bu- 
reau, seems to ha%e more than justified the appellation given him by the 
press of the country as "The Flying Parson." Since assuming office four- 
teen months ago General Everson has traveled 87,485 miles or more than 
three times around the earth. ^'^ 

They held public worship. Church parade was used in many camps. 
The troops were marched to church, often led by mounted officers. Old 
photographs show that it was a rather formal affair. In CMTC it was 
required of all trainees except those excused by written request of 
parents. Burling said, "no unfavorable criticism of this formation has 
come to the War Department, and the practice is fast being recognized as 
the best solution of the public worship problem . . . Field masses in the 
open air, impressive services in natural arenas and bowls, crowded meet- 
ings in large halls \\ ith addresses by prominent divines as well as instru- 
mental and vocal renditions by talented musicians, were reported from 
every part of the field." ^"' 

The Close of a Decade 

In 1939 the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, USA, 
declared: "We hold that war is a violation of human personality and is 
repugnant to the Christian conscience, and we repudiate it as a means of 
settling international disputes ... as Christians we pray for God's guid- 
ance in our own thinking and for His guidance of the constituted au- 
thorities in the United States in order that our nation be not drawn into 
the maelstrom of foreign strife." '^^ The churches in America still hoped 
they could influence American foreign policy sufficiently to keep us out 
of what was called by many, "Mister Roosevelt's war." Careful reading 
of history shows the events leading to war were out of the church's hands, 
and Mr. Roosevelt's as well. British and French appeasement failed to 
satisfy Hitler's territorial demands. American unpreparedness and public 
opinion led Japan, Germany and Italy to misread the nation's will to fight. 

Events already set in motion drew the United States closer to the 
maelstrom. Munich sealed the fate of Czechoslovakia. Hitler declared 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

80 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

that his ukimate goal was: "die ganze Wek" (the whole world) . On the 
Maginot Line squatted the cooped-up French Army. German civiHans 
called Hitler's waiting game Sitzkrieg, "sit-down war." ''' Americans 
convinced themselves that the Japanese had their hands full in China. 
Manchester commented that the 1930's, which had begun with a cry for 
bread, ended with a yawn. There was no great land battle this time, nor 
even a sizeable border skirmish. It was a time in American history when 
international challenges were about to replace domestic problems. The 
world held its collective breath and waited for the next move.''" 


The chaplaincy not only survived attacks from friends and foes 
within and without the military and church, but continued to grow in 
strength and numbers as Reserves were brought to active duty with the 
CCC, and for short periods of emergency due to natural disasters. The 
newly found professional standing and military training of chaplains 
suffered some reverses. Supervision was still too cautious. The imagina- 
tion, inspiration, and hard work of chaplains in this period gained and 
held a place of grudging respect within the Army. Annual Reports of 
the Chief of Chaplains showed that the ministers to the military provided 
regular opportunities for worship despite the lack of chapels already dis- 
cussed. Their use of audio-visuals, character building lectures, educational 
opportunities, better and more professional expertise in counseling 
through the incorporation of the insights of psychology, added to the 
traditional pastoral roles of the past. Chaplains, in professional magazines 
shared a growing belief that they belonged in the Army, and were not 
just tolerated. 

Institutionally, the largest failure of the chaplaincy in this period 
was the lack of contingency plans for selecting, training, and mobilizing 
large numbers of chaplains in the event of war. The ratio of chaplains to 
officers and men had been fixed by law. Apparently it was assumed that 
as the Army expanded the chaplain's branch would simply activate the 
Reserves. Since there were only 125 Regular. Army chaplains, and over 
1,000 in the Reserves that seemed a sufficient pool of talent from which 
to draw. Of 100,000 clergymen polled, only 3,500 answered that they 
would not serve as chaplains.'" There had been distressing clues earlier. 
The mobilization plans of 1925 called for a goal of 1,870 Regular Army 
and reserve chaplains, a goal which was not achieved.'^" No one was plan- 
ning for a need of 9,000 chaplains. (After all, the Air Corps was only 
training 150 pilots per year. ) As a result of this thinking only one chaplain 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


in ten who served in World War II had been in the Reserves or the 
Regular Army prior to Pearl Harbor. 

Like the rest of the Army, there was a small, well trained, experi- 
enced group of chaplains who had weathered the "dog days" of the 
thirties. They ministered in place to millions of the nation's youth in a 
period that tried not only the American economy, but its character as well. 
Jorgensen wrote, "By their dedicated efforts they shaped the chaplaincy 
for the greatest task it should ever encounter; World War II." "^ 


^Sydney E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People, (New Haven: Yale 
University Press, 1972), p. 920. 

^ Lucien Price, Religion of The Soldier and Sailor, "Between Two Wars," Edited by Wil- 
lard L. Sperry, Volume II, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1945), p. 35. 

' Ahlstrom, A Religious History of The American People, p. 925. 

'Ibid., p. 926. 

" Ibid., p. 926. 

^ Ibid., p. 92. Also: Roy J. Honeywell, Chaplains of The United States Army, (Washington, 
D.C. : Office of the Chief of Chaplains, 1958) , p. 203. 

" Ahlstrom, A Religious History of The American People, p. 930. 

'Ibid., p. 931. 

"William Manchester, The Glory and the Dream, Volume 1, (Boston: Little, Brown and 
Company, 1973), p. 4. 

'"Ibid., p. 4-5. 

^^ Daniel B. Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, (Washing- 
ton, D.C. : Office of Air Force Chaplains) , p. 58. 

" Ibid., p. 58. 

" Ibid., p. 58. 

" Ministers and War, The Army Chaplain, Vol. II, No. 2, October 1931, p. 2. 

" Edward A. Simon, The Influence of American Churches on The Development of the 
Structure and Duties of the Army Chaplaincy, 1914-1962, A Thesis, Princeton Theological 
Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey, 1963, p. 58. 

^"Minister Resents 'Slur' on Chaplains, The New York Times, 16 April 1930, p. 14. 

''Ibid., p. 14. 

'^ Simon, The Influence of American Churches on the Development of the Structure and 
Duties of the Army Chaplaincy, 1914-1962, p. 58. 

'" Ibid., p. 58. 

^ Jorgenson, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 59. 

^ Simon, The Influence of American Churches on the Development of the Structure and 
Duties of the Army Chaplaincy, p. 63-64. 

^^ Explain Opposition to Chaplains, The New York Times, 20 February 1928, p. 25. 

" Jorgenson, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 58. 

^* Ibid., p. 58. 

^ Ibid., p. 60. 

^'Ibid., p. 60-61. 

" Simon, The Influence of American Churches on the Development of the Structure and 
Duties of the Army Chaplaincy, 1914-1946, p. 61. 

'« Ibid., p. 59. 

''Ibid., p. 59. 

'"Ibid., p. 61. 

^ Manchester, The Glory and the Dream, p. 151. 

82 ' THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

'' Ibid., p. 245. 

'■•' The Army and Navy Journal, Vol. Ill, No. 4, May 1932, p. 496. 

" Ibid. 

^"John A. Salmond, The Civilian Conservation Corps 1933-42; A New Deal Case Study, 
(Durham, N.C.: University Press, 1967), p. 2. 

"^ Ibid., p. 3. 

" Ibid., p. 4. 

'^ Ibid., p. 8. 

'"Ibid., p. 13. 

'"Ibid., p. 17-26, and 42. 

" Ibid., p. 34. 

*' Ibid., p. 45. 

" E. R. Baublitz, The C.C.C. As An Agency For Character Development, The Army Chap- 
lain, Vol. VIII, No. 1, July 1937, p. 10. 

"Alva J. Brasted, Chaplains and The C.C.C, The Army Chaplain, Vol. VIII, No. 1, July 

1936, p. 8. 
'^ Ibid. 

""Richard Braunstien, The Circuit Rider Returns, The Army Chaplain, Vol. VIII, No. 3, 
January 1937, p. 6. 

■"'Daniel B. Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, (Washing- 
ton, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Air Force Chaplains, 1961 ), p. 52-53. 

'' Ibid., p. 53. 

'"Ibid., p. 53. 

^° Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 211. 

" Brasted, Chaplains and the C.C.C, p. 8. 

■== Ibid., p. 8. 

'^^ Wilfred A. Munday, All in the Day"s Duty, The Army Chaplain, Vol VIII, No. 3, January 

1937, p. 7. 

" HoneyweTl, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 212. 

■*" Solomon Jacobson, Working With Jewish Enrollees, The Army Chaplain, Vol. IX, No. 2, 
October 1938, p. 52. 

"^ Ibid., p. 53. 

-'Alva J. Brasted, A Symposium on the Work of the Chaplain in the CCC, (Fort Leaven- 
worth, Kansas: The Command and General Staff School Press), p. 23. 

''Ibid., p. 4. 

'"Ibid., p. 26. 

"'Ibid., p. 45. 

'^Alfred C Oliver, Jr. and Harold M. Dudley, This New America, (New York: Longmans, 
Green and Company, 1937). 

""This New America, The Army Chaplain, Vol. VIII, No. 3, January 1937, p. 10. 

°^ Brasted, A Symposium on the Work of the Chaplain In the CCC, p. 7. 

^'Ibid., p. 21-22. 

'^'Ibid., p. 32. 

™ Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 53. 

"'Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 211-212, and Annual Report, Chief 
of Chaplains, The Army Chaplain, Vol. VIII, No. 3, January 1937, p. 12-13. 

""Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 212. 

"" Braunstien, The Circuit Rider Returns, p. 6. 

" Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People, p. 920. 

■^Ovid Butler, Youth Rebuilds (Washington, D.C: The American Forestry Association, 
1934), p. 63. 

" Ibid., p. 66. 

''Ibid., p. 157. 

""Ibid., p. 161. 

''Ibid., p. 166. 

'" Manchester, The Glory and the Dream, p. 101. 


'" Work at Camp Pike Condemned^, The Army and Navy Register, Vol. XCVIII, No. 2885, 
9 November 1935, p. 383. 

'" Editorial, The Army Chaplain, Vol. V, No. 3, January 1934, p. 2 

'" Salmond, The Civilian Conservation Corps, p. 90-91. 

"^Ibid., p. 91. 

^Ibid., p. 92-93. 

^/fczU, p. 93-101. 

"-'Ibid., p. 216. 

*' Manchester, The Glory and the Dream, p. 151-152, and 243-247. 

■^Chaplains on Duty Aid Flood Victims, The Army Chaplain, Vol. VIII, No. 4, April 
1937, p. 5. 

*'" Authors note: I was pastor of this church, Central Presbyterian, in 1960; the memory 
of these events was very much alive, and the older members of the congregation told of how 
people slept on pews for the night. 

*' Chaplains on Duty Aid Flood Victims, p. 5. 

"^Ibid., p. 5. 

''"Ibid., p. 5. 

"^Jbid., p. 4. 

'^Ibid., p. 4. 

"^ Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 211. 

"^Annual Report of the Chief of Chaplains, The Army Chaplain, Vol. Ill, No. 3, January 
1932, p. 4. 

"' Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 74. 

'^Ibid., p. 75. 

'^Ibid., p. 75. 

°'New Post Chapels, The Army Chaplain, Vol. V, No. 4, April 1935, p. 1, 3-5. 

"* Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 72-74. 

""Ibid. p. 75. 

'"^Ibid. p. 75. 

'°' Ibid. p. 64. 

'"'Ibid. p. 51. 

^°'Ibid. p. 52. 

'°* The Retiring Chief of Chaplains, The Army Chaplain, Vol. V, No. 4, April 1934, p. 7. 

'<* Chief of Chaplains, Julian E. Yates, The Army Chaplain, Vol. I, No. 2, October 1930, p. 3. 

'** Annual Report, The Army Chaplain, Vol. Ill, No. 3, January 1932, p. 5. 

^<"Col. Brasted named Chief of Chaplains, New York Times, 12 December 1933, p. 2-6; A 
Message from the Chief of Chaplains, The Army Chaplain, Vol. V, No. 4, April 1934, p. 5; and 
Character Building Lecture, the Army Chaplain, Vol. VII, No. 1, July 1936, p. 17. 

^*^ Chief of Chaplains Annual Report, The Army and Navy Register, 26 June, 1935, p. 62. 

'"" Morale of Chaplains, The Army and Navy Chaplain, Vol. V, No. 1, August 1934, p. 4. 

''" Evelyn Brasted, Soldier of God., (New York: Cariton Press, 1971 ), p. 37. 

"' Ibid., p. 62-90. 

"" Chaplain Becomes "Soldier of the Cross" In Commanche Tribe Indians, The Army Chap- 
lain, Vol. VIII., No. 3, January-February 1937, p. 7. 

"'^ Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 70. 

"^Attendance Contest, The Army Chaplain, Vol. VIII, No. 4, April 1937, p. 13. 

"^ Notes, The Army Chaplain, Vol. II, No. 3., January 1931, p. 15; and What the Chaplains 
are Doing. The Army Chaplain, Vol. Ill, No. 4, p. 14. 

"* Hal C. Head, The United States Army Transport Republic, The Army Chaplain, Vol. III. 
No. 3, January 1932, p. 7. 

"'' Chaplain Nathaniel L. Jones Writes Book of Sonnets, The Army Chaplain, Vol. VII, No. 
1, July 1936, p. 15. 

^ The Army Chaplain Has New Editor, The Army Chaplain; Vol. VII, No. 4, April-May 
1936, p. 2. 

"'Notes, The Army Chaplain, Vol. I, No. 3, January 1931, p. 15. 

^^ Army Postgraduate Instruction, Army and Navy Register, Vol. XL, No. 2671, 3 October 
1931, p. 321. 

84 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

"^ What the Chaplains are Doing, The Army Chaplain, p. 13. 

"' Ibid. 

'^ Burling, the C.M.T.C. As it Was Reported, p. 5. 

^^The Army Chaplain, Vol. II, No. 4, April 1931, p. 10. 

'^ Chaplain Flies to Orient, the .'\rmy Chaplain, Vol. VIII, No. 3, January 1937, p. 10; and 
King of Norway receives Chaplain Ylvisaker, same issue and page. 

^^ Notes, The Army Chaplain, p. 15. 

^" Burling, The CMTC. As it was Reported, p. 5. 

'"* General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church, Pamphlet, 1939, Document number AC 
75625, p. 4, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, Pa. 

'^ Manchester, The Glory and the Dream, p. 248. 

"" Ibid. 

"^ Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 79. 

''^-Ibid. p. 79. 



Figure 1 . The Chaplains' Cenotaph, ArHngton Cemetery, commemorat- 
ing World War I chaplains Who Gave Their Lives. By courtesy of the 
General Committee on Army and Navy chaplains. 

246-684 O - 78 - 7 





Figure 3. William R. Arnold, Chief of Chap- 
lains — the first chief to wear stars, and the 
Wartime Chief during World War II. Photo 
by US Army Signal Corps. 

Figure 4. The "Mobilization" Chapel. Photo by US Army 
Signal Corps. 


Figure 5. Interior of the Mobilization Chapel. Photo by US Army Signal 

Figure 6. Dedication of the First Mobiliza- 
tion Chapel at Arlington Cemetery. Left, 
Chaplain William R. Arnold, Center, Gen- 
eral George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff of 
the US Army. Photo by US Army Signal 



Figure 7. Chapel Initiatory, Arlington Cantonement, VA, 27 July 1941 
Photo from Office of Constructing Quartermaster, by F. G. Wells. 

Figure 8. Soldiers attending Religious In- 
struction in Mobilization Chapel. Photo by 
US Army Signal Corps. 



Figure 9. Dudley Summers' Painting of "The Four Chaplains" aboard the 
Transport Dorchester. Photo courtesy of the National Conference of 
Christians and Jews. 


World War II — From Pearl Harbor 
Through The Dorchester 


On 1 September 1939 Germany invaded Poland. France and Great 
Britain responded by declaring war on Germany. Radio brought these 
events to the American people with an immediacy and intimacy never 
before experienced. "This nation will remain a neutral nation," Roosevelt 
announced in a fireside chat on 3 September, "but I cannot ask that every 
American remain neutral in thought as well." ^ 

The country was sharply divided between isolationists and inter- 
ventionists. Those who wanted to intervene and those who didn't were, 
for the most part, sympathetic to Britain and France. Roosevelt was com- 
mitted to their support in every way short of an actual declaration of war. 
He was convinced that the United States could stay out of the war and 
have a generation of peace, but he knew the price ; the next generation of 
Americans would have to fight alone against overwhelming odds." 

Lincoln said you could do anything with public opinion, and nothing 
without it.^ "To serve the public faithfully and at the same time please it 
entirely is impossible," said Benjamin Franklin.* But even a divided public 
approved of building America's defense forces. George C. Marshall, a 
Brigadier General, was sworn in as Chief of Staff as a full general on the 
day Poland was invaded. Poland fell in 17 days. America's Army was 
smaller and weaker than Poland's. The danger and the lesson were clear. 
The President declared a limited national emergency and authorized 
increases in the Regular Army and National Guard. The Army concen- 
trated on expanding its Air Corps, making its regular forces ready for 
action, and providing divisions with full and modern equipment. In April 
1940 the first genuine corps and army training maneuvers in American 
military history took place, involving 70,000 troops.^ 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


92 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

The successful German seizure of Denmark and Norway, followed 
by the quick defeat of the Low Countries and France, were grave threats 
to Great Britain and forced the United States to adopt a new and greatly 
enlarged program for defense in the spring of 1940. By September the 
Army was planning a force of a million and a half. The National Guard 
and the organized Reserves were called up; the first peacetime draft of 
untrained civilian manpower in the nation's history, provided for by the 
Selective Service and Training Act of 14 September 1940, was instituted. 
The Army doubled in size during the last six months of 1940. In 1941 the 
Army received $8 billion for its needs, more than the combined total of 
the preceding twenty years.® 

Steps Toward War 

America was providing arms to Britain and France. In September 

1940 the United States exchanged fifty overage destroyers with Britain 
for offshore Atlantic bases; the President announced that henceforth 
production of heavy bombers would be shared equally with the British. 
The foreign aid program included the Lend-Lease Act of March 1941, 
which according to American Military History, "swept away the pretense 
of American neutrality by openly avowing the intention of the United 
States to become an 'arsenal of democracy' against aggression." ' 

The Germans invaded the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941 and three 
days later American troops landed in Greenland to protect it against 
German attack. American forces moved into Iceland as well. In October 
the Navy was fully engaged in convoy-escort duties in the western reaches 
of the North Atlantic, which led to undeclared war between German 
and American ships. ^ 

In the Pacific the possibilities for war steadily increased. In late July 

1941 the Japanese moved large forces into what later became South 
Vietnam. The United States responded by freezing Japanese assets and 
cutting off oil shipments to Japan. (Oil was critical for Japanese naval 
forces. ) Reinforcements were sent to the Philippines. In September the 
Japanese tentatively decided to embark on a war of conquest in South- 
east Asia and the Indies; they planned to try to immobilize American 
naval opposition by an opening air strike against the naval base at Pearl 
Harbor, Hawaii. Manchester observed, "When intense last-minute nego- 
tiations in November failed to produce any accommodation, the Japanese 
made their decision for war irrevocable." ^ 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


Thinking Within The Church 

Rehgious leaders of the past were upbraided for abiHty to read 
weather signs but inabihty to discern the signs of the times." In 1940 
and 1941 neither the Church nor the State was overstaffed with prophets 
and seers. Joseph P. Kennedy, back from London, said talk about Britain 
fighting for democracy was "bunk." John Foster Dulles said in November 
1941, "only hysteria entertains the idea that Germany, Italy, or Japan 
contemplates war upon us"; Senator Robert A. Taft, commenting on 
White House displeasure over Japanese troops in Vietnam, said no Ameri- 
can mother was ready to have her son die "for some place with an unpro- 
nounceable name in Indo-China." " 

Distinguished clergy seemed determined to shoot at the wrong tar- 
get. Harry Emerson Fosdick said the draft was immoral. Another clergy- 
man predicted it would reduce American youth to "syphilis and slavery." ^^ 
Similarly, the Catholic magazine America fretted about prophylactics. 
". . . The sale of contraceptive devices at Army posts, on orders from 
headquarters in Washington . . . brings out the purely natural and secular 
nature of the Army." The article claimed the Army vv^as interested in 
bodies, not souls. "They are in camp and many of them do not know 
why. . . . They are the sons and the brothers, most of them, of that eighty 
per cent of the American people who are determined that this country 
shall not be dragged into a foreign war." ^^ An editorial opinion stated 
that one of the reasons the modern world was headed into chaos was 
"that the lives of the Saints have not been best-sellers .... Hand grenades 
will never bring lasting peace to the world, but the right sort of heroes 
enshrined in a sufficient number of human hearts will." ^* 

Writers in church publications worried about propaganda. Readers 
were reminded that World War I produced a deluge of propaganda of the 
atrocity story variety. This time, they warned, propaganda prepared for 
export to America as well as the domestic type would be based on 
alleged moral and religious grounds. "Certainly no civilized man can 
approve the principles which dictate the conduct of Hitler and Stalin; 
hence it will not be difficult to plead that it is the duty of the United 
States to supply money and armies to bring these men and their princi- 
ples an an end." ^'.Harold Gardiner was concerned about propaganda 
in comic strips.^" John Toomey wrote, "We Are Not Swayed By War 
Propaganda." '' The Gallup Poll reported that Americans did not want 
to hear about war from their pulpits. The question asked was : "Do you 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

94 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

think preachers and priests should discuss from the pulpit the question of 
American participation in the War?" 55% answered, "No." '^ 

Morality in the towns surrounding the camps worried the clergy. 
One commanding officer said, "While the church groups are worrying 
about what the army may do to the boys, I am worried about what the 
towns near the camps may do to our army lads." " A Methodist 
magazine warned, "The liquor traffic and the vice interests will be 
waiting for our sons when they go to camp." "" And another warned that, 
"Methodists must see to it that the voice of the drill sergeant is not more 
imperative than the voice of the gospel." '' After the fall of France came 
the admonition: "There is a lesson for America in this experience . . . 
our chief job is to make America worthy of the divine benediction for 
there are some things — laziness, shoddy work, corruption, dishonesty, in- 
attention to duty — which God himself cannot bless." ^" With the world 
about to be engulfed in the fiames of war, there were those who saw no 
further than making sure girls in camp shows were more fully clothed ^^ 
or that we should stop buying silk from Japan. (Japan sold the United 
States $13 million worth between 1 October and 15 December 1941.) ^* 

One effect of the social transformations wrought during the decades 
preceding the 1940's was a distinct decline in the relative moral force of 
the churches. Ahlstrom wrote, "They simply were not as important a 
factor in the molding of public attitudes as they had been in 1916. The 
pulpit and church press had lost their preeminence among the mass 
media." "' Most conservative evangelicals were committed to being non- 
committal on public issues while modernists undermined the authority 
of the churches to speak on any issue. 

This is not to say there were no prophets and seers. The Methodists 
launched a campaign in early 1941 to assist the churches located near 
Army camps to minister to soldiers by asking for "One Million From 
Eight Million." '"' A new magazine, Christianity In Crisis, appeared 10 
February 1941 and regularly focused attention on the central issues. Its 
viewpoint was that American hopes for the future, as well as contrition 
over past misdeeds, must be subordinated to the urgent, immediate task. 
In this instance the immediate task was clear— defeat of Nazi tyranny. 
"If this task does not engage us, both our repentance and our hope be- 
come luxuries in which we indulge while other men save us from an 
intolerable fate, or while our inaction betrays into disaster a cause to 
which we owe allegiance." "" The magazine reported the plight of Belgian 
Jews in concentration camps, the treatment of Warsaw Jews, and reports 
of pastors jailed in Germany. It called for the repeal of the Neutrality 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


Act, calling it, "one of the most immoral laws that was ever spread upon 
a federal statute book." ~^ 

During the 1930's a strong pacifist movement dominated much of 
American theology. Mainly it stemmed from a humanistic influence which 
saw man as inherently good, but institutions thwarted the struggle for 
advancement toward the kingdom of God: Institutions needed to be 
converted as well as individuals. Hence, war was man's greatest sin, and 
the way of salvation was to renounce it by nonparticipation. Education 
was the means to universal brotherhood and peace. 

As events moved America toward participation in World War II 
church leaders realized that religion itself was a target. Hitler's Mein 
Kampf was not a comic political theory. Churches protesting the liqui- 
dation of Jews in Europe were closed and their pastors imprisoned by 
Nazi authorities. Rival state religions developed. The myth of the Tue- 
tonic Superman and Norse gods arose. The Japanese had put a clamp 
on missionaries, native ministers, and congregations. Shintoism, revived 
under military control, demanded absolute obedience to the Emperor as 
a political and religious duty. The educated nations of Germany, Italy, 
and Japan, used the tools of progress for destruction against Manchuria, 
Ethiopia and Europe. The modem myth of man's goodness started to 
collapse. Increasingly, religious leaders had to face the question whether 
they could renounce a world of suffering. Was isolation moral? 

As a result of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor Americans awoke to 
the massive irony of national consensus in the actuality of war. In a 
matter of hours the situation changed, what was confused became clear. 
The great debates were over. An "Army" of pacifists dwindled to about 
twelve thousand, or according to Ahlstrom, less than 1 percent of those 
who registered for the draft."'' The churches shared the national con- 
sensus on war. Whether Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish, they showed no 
reluctance to support the war effort. They provided chaplains; raised 
money and volunteers for war service agencies; distributed Bibles, prayer- 
books, and devotional literature; maintained contact with service per- 
sonnel and counseled and aided those left behind. Ahlstrom wrote, "Even 
with the provocations which Hitler provided, however, the churches did 
not repeat the unrestrained capitulation to the war spirit which had left 
them disgraced after 1918. Many factors help to explain this change . . . 
In theological terms, Neo-orthodoxy is a large part of the explanation." ^^ 

"... Americans marched off to battle not so much with flying flags 
and patriotic oratory as with a grim, realistic determination to fight for 
the survival of the nation and its allies," according to Grosvenor.'' 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

96 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

The war taught that the liberties of minority groups — political or 
religious — are important to the hberties of all; that an attack upon one 
group or faith can be the prelude to the strangulation of all. This 
soul-searching problem shook church bodies across the nation, and the 
repercussions were to have far-reaching effects in American theology. A 
statement by Protestant leaders early in the war said : 

We abhor war. But in the outcome of this war, ethical issues are at 
stake to which no Christian can remain indifferent. Totalitarian aggres- 
sion must be halted or there will be no peace and order in the world. 
Our nation has faced that issue and made its choice. Adhering to our 
belief that it is the responsibility of Christians to make moral appraisal 
of the actions of governments, our consciences, as Christians, support that 
decision of our government. ^^ 

The General Conference of the Methodist Church in May 1944 
reversed its position on war and stated, "We are well within the Christian 
position when we assert the necessity of the use of military forces to 
resist an agression which would overthrow every right which is held 
sacred by civilized man." "'' While it could not be simply defined, resist- 
ance against the evil of totalitarian government — even to the point of 
war — was seen to be the lesser of two evils. 

Indorsing Agencies Prepare 

Almost 100,000 civilians were commissioned directly into the US 
Army, and slightly less than half of these were doctors, dentists, and 
chaplains. Because of their professional status clergymen were exempt 
from Selective Service, commonly called "the draft," which began 16 
October 1940. Those clergy holding commissions in the Officer Reserve 
Corps were permitted to resign them. Others like James Tull, called to 
duty as a reserve line officer from a pastorate in Frankfort, Ky., was later 
commissioned as a chaplain and served under General Chennault in 
China. Others came to the chaplaincy in similar ways.^^ 

In the summer of 1940 there were 137 chaplains in the Regular 
Army. Of about 1,000 Reserve chaplains, 770 were eHgible for active 
duty, and 145 of them were serving with the Army and about 100 with 
the Civilian Conservation Corps. During the next few months many 
appointments were made in the Officers Reserve Corps, but a law of 22 
September 1941 authorized temporary appointments in the Army of the 
United States (AUS). By the day of the Pearl Harbor attack, 140 
chaplains of the Regular Army, 298 of the National Guard and 1,040 
Reserve chaplains were on duty, a total of 1,478. For the chaplaincy the 
situation differed greatly from that of April 1917 when the country 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


entered the first world struggle. On that occasion few preparations were 
made until after the declaration of war. The beginning of hostilities in 
1941 found many training camps in operation and a substantial number 
of soldiers well advanced in basic training. There were half as many 
chaplains already on duty at the start of WWII as there had been at the 
conclusion of WWI. Nevertheless, the need for nine thousand chaplains 
during World War II made the prewar figure a mere fraction of what 
\vould be needed. ^'^ But the mechanism for turning civilian clerg\^ into 
chaplains was in operation — more or less. And that "more or less" is a 
fascinating administrative story. 

The chaplaincy as an institution was difTerent from other corps and 
branches of the Army. There was no large school in civilian life that 
trained pilots, tankers, infantrymen, or combat engineers. (Even West 
Point could not claim to be such an institution) . But the seminaries and 
rabbinical schools in American trained hundreds of thousands of clergy- 
men who could become chaplains with no need of further training as 
clergy. Chaplains differed from the medical and legal branches in that 
the qualifications and quotas for the latter were administered by the 
draft boards. Only the chaplaincy had a civilian agency interviewing, 
selecting and indorsing men to the Army. The indorsing agencies for the 
three major faith groups were the Jewish Welfare Board, the Military 
Ordinariate, and The General Commission on Army and Navy Chaplains. 

The Jewish Welfare Board was a small, almost one-man operation 
until 1940. It was headed by Dr. Cyrus Adler, who died in April of that 
year; he was succeeded by Rabbi David De Sola Pool. By the time 
Selective Service was initiated 1 7 Rabbis held commissions in the Army. 
Chaplain Bernard Segal was ordered to active duty on 1 August 1940 
and was assigned to Fort Dix, New Jersey, "the post which then and 
ever since has had more Jewish trainees than any other American military 
training center." Segal became the first full-time Jewish chaplain since 
1918, because the draft changed the religious make up of the Army. 
Chaplain Aryeh Lev came on duty in November and was assigned to 
the Office of the Chief of Chaplains, the first Jewish chaplain to receive 
such a high administrative assignment. By the start of the war there were 
24 Jewish chaplains on active duty.^^ 

On 29 November 1939 Pope Pius XII appointed Bishop Francis J. 
Spellman (later archbishop and cardinal) to be Military Vicar for the 
United States wdth special jurisdiction over Catholic chaplains and men 
of the Armed Forces. The following month Bishop John F. O'Hara, 
C.S.C., was appointed Military Delegate to assist Archbishop Spellman 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

98 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

in his military work. Two months after Bishop O'Hara's consecration 
the Chief of Chaplains, William R. Arnold, wrote : 

The beneficial effects of his appointment are felt in all directions. 
I feel at ease with him for he was a boy in my parish before I came into 
the Army. I have always known and addressed him as John and later as 
Father John. Now, I must be careful not to presume. In my prayers, 
however, he is still John. God bless him.^' 

The vigor with which Bishop O'Hara approached his work was 
revealed in a letter to General Marshall dated July 1941 : "During the 
past year I have visited more than 150 Army posts and Navy Stations and 
the unfailing courtesy of the officers and men has made delightful a task 
that might other wise have proved impossible." ^^ Bishop Spellman and 
O'Hara were happy choices and showed the importance the Catholic 
Church gave to the positions. The Military Ordinariate grew as no civilian 
diocese ever did: from 36 Catholic chaplains in the Army and 19 in the 
Navy in 1939, to more than 3,000 priests on active duty, assisted by more 
than 1 ,700 auxiliary chaplains, in 1945. 

The General Committee on Army and Navy chaplains was reorga- 
nized in 1 940 as the General Commission on Army and Navy Chaplains ; 
it was independent of the Federal Council of Churches under which the 
Committee was originally formed. The change allowed wider representa- 
tion from among Protestant denominations, some of which were not 
previously affiliated with the Federal Council for reasons of theology and 
polity. The Commission served as a liaison between the armed forces 
and some 40 Protestant denominations. The chairmen during the war 
years were Dr. Ruf us W. Weaver, Bishop Adna W. Leonard, Dr. William 
Barrow Pugh, and Bishop Henry Knox Sherill, and the directors were 
Dr. Paul Moody, Dr. S. Arthur Devan, and Bishop Edwin F. Lee.'' 

The involved ecclesiastical indorsement procedure of the General 
Commission required three to four months, too long for the urgent 
demands of war. That fact and the unprecedented demand for Protestant 
chaplains led to development of denominational commissions that could 
give an indorsement within 19 days. Smaller groups cooperated with in- 
dorsing commissions of closely related denominations. 

Qualifications Of Chaplains 

AR 605-30, December 1941, required applicants for original ap- 
pointment in the Regular Army to be — 

a. A male citizen of the United States. 

b. Between the ages of 23 and 34 years. 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


c. Regularly ordained, duly accredited by and in good standing 
with some religious denomination or organization which holds an appor- 
tionment of chaplain appointments in accordance with the needs of 

d. A graduate of both 4 year college and 3 -year theological seminary 

e. Actively engaged in the ministry as the principal occupation in 
life and be credited with 3 years experience therein. 

Appointments in the Army of the United States allowed the maxi- 
mum age to be 55.*° 

From the period of emergency that began 9 September 1939 to the 
surrender of Japan on 2 September 1945 a total of 9,1 17 chaplains served 
in the Army, 8,896 of them on duty during the period of actual combat. 
On the day hostilities closed, "V-J Day," the total was 8,141 (Catholic 
2,278, Jewish 243, Protestant 5,620). Counting a few who had not yet 
reported for duty, it was reckoned that the 8,171 in service or under orders 
in July of 1945 were the greatest number of chaplains who can be said to 
have served at any specific time during the war. The Army then numbered 
about 8,200,000 so that the proportion of 1 to 1,000 ratio asked by the 
Chief had almost been reached." 

Getting chaplains screened, indorsed, trained, equipped, assigned, 
transported, maintained, supplied, supervised, promoted, and replaced 
does not make for exciting tales to tell the grandchildren, but it was a 
necessary, grueling, thankless, herculean task that taxed administrative 
ability, imagination, flexibility, patience, and diplomacy. That it was 
done at all was amazing; that it was done so well was truly remarkable. 
General Marshall said at one time, "The Office of the Chief of Chaplains 
is the best run office in the War Department." *^ 

To cope with the unprecedented growth of the Army and the branch, 
the Chief of Chaplains' Office— which from 1920 to 1939 had only three 
chaplains and three to five Army field clerks and civilian employees — 
increased to about 26 chaplains and offices plus 1 25 civilian clerks. It was 
organized into the Personnel Division, Ground Liaison Division, Air 
Liaison Division, Technical and Information Division, Administrative 
Division, Plans and Training Division, and Miscellaneous Division. 
Colonel Goodyear, who was with the Chief's Office from its inception in 
1920, was the executive assistant and legal advisor. An officer in the 
Adjutant General branch, he was instrumental in preparing proposed 
legislation and regulations to bring chaplains to parity with other services. 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

100 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

Thomas Griesemer served the Office continuously from 1935 to 1960 as 
a civilian (except for one year of Army duty as a major in Japan) . 

The 1936 religious census, published in 1939, was the basis for estab- 
lishing the quotas of chaplains by denomination. (A denominational 
breakdown may be found in Appendix C). The Chief of Chaplains, 
William R. Arnold, spoke to General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff, 
about lowering the ratio of chaplains to officers and men from the long 
standing 1 to 1,200 to 1 to 800. Although the recommendation never 
materialized Marshall promised that chaplains would be protected from 
extra duties so that they could devote full time to religious responsi- 

Creating quotas and authorized spaces was a difficult administrative 
problem particularly when made with officers who had no conception of 
a chaplains program other than consoling the sick and wounded, and 
burying the dead. But spaces did not create faces. The Military Ordi- 
nariate was never able to supply the number of Catholic chaplains sought 
by the War Department. The ordinariate declared that half a million men 
did not have the services of a Catholic chaplain. Early in 1943 there were 
1,284 on duty against a quota of 2,250. At the end of the war 88 percent 
of the quota, or about 5.8 percent of the Catholic priests in the continental 
United States were in the Army.** 

Negro churches were authorized 790 chaplains but only 1 74 were in 
service at the end of the war. While many black chaplains came to the 
Army from churches that were not listed as "Negro," the fact remains 
that only 22 percent of the quota was filled. Although it was the policy to 
assign black chaplains to black troops, obviously this could not always be 
done. The educational requirements for black ministers were modified in 
such a way that many ministers who were barred by previous regulations 
were able to qualify. 

Christian Scientists, the Friends, Eastern Orthodox, and Mormon 
churches presented some problems to the chaplaincy. These organizations 
observe rites or emphasized principles so different from those classified as 
"Protestant" that serious questions arose concerning their ability to 
minister effectively to persons not affiliated with their respective groups. 
The question was important because the comparatively few adherents of 
these churches were dispersed so widely in the Army that a chaplain of 
any of these faiths would find it impossible to bring together any consider- 
able number of coreligionists at any one time. Chaplains representing 
these churches were usually assigned to Army and theatre headquarters, so 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


that they might have wide latitude to travel from one location to another, 
ministering to their men. 

Language problems complicated religious coverage. In 1942 the War 
Department organized an all-Greek battalion and authorized a Greek 
Orthodox chaplain. Although the Chief of Chaplains asked Archbishop 
Athenagoras for a suitable candidate, almost one year passed before a man 
with the proper age and physical condition with a sufficient knowledge 
of the English language was found. A similar problem arose in 1943 when 
the 442d Infantry was organized. The Japanese Americans who composed 
the unit were largely Buddhist in faith. The Buddhist Mission of North 
America was unable to produce a qualified candidate. Later, a Christain 
chaplain of Japanese descent was assigned to this regiment. 

Unless terminated sooner, these wartime appointments to the Army 
of the United States were to continue until 6 months after the end of 
the emergency. 

The rule that chaplains must be male citizens was challenged in two 
particulars. When the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps was established, it 
was urged by an organization of women ministers and by individuals, 
that the training schools for these women and any large units in which 
they might be organized be served by female chaplains. A survey at the 
training camps showed that very few of the young women desired female 
chaplains. The matter was dropped. Many female ministers did become 
chaplain's assistants and directors of religious education. When the need 
for chaplains became acute, the citizenship rule was modified and the 
appointment of citizens of cobelligerent and friendly powers was 

Day Of Infamy i 

Almost all official and unofficial Americans who expected war 
thought it would come from naval confrontations in the Atlantic. The 
U.S.S. Kearny, a destroyer, was attacked; two weeks later another de- 
stroyer, the Reuben James, was sunk in Icelandic waters, and with her 
over a hundred U.S. bluejackets. There was real war fever now all over 
the country, but the isolationists on the Hill remained unimpressed." 

Foreign policy toward Japan according to Manchester was misman- 
aged, bungled, and ignored because the real threat seemed to come from 
Europe. But the Japanese felt boxed in, pushed, even forced to go to war 
under the hard line of Secretary of State Hull. (Politically he could get 
away with it because of racial animosity toward the Japanese. ) 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

246-684 O - 78 - 8 

102 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

General Walter Short and Admiral Husband E. Kimmel received 
alert messages and warnings that a Japanses attack on Hawaii was 
coming. They didn't believe it. Instead servicemen were given their cus- 
tomary Saturday evening liberty. No special guards were mounted on 
the United States Pacific Fleet — anchored in Pearl Harbor — 94 ships, 
including eight battlewagons and nine cruisers. General Short ordered 
Army aircraft lined up wing tip to wing tip in the center of Hickam Field 
where they were easily destroyed by hostile warplanes. 

A.t 7:02 A.M. in Hawaii a radar operator on Oahu reported the 
imminent arrival of a large force of aircraft. His superior officer told him 
to forget it. Using four types of aircraft, among them the Kawasaki, the 
Japanese attack was the worst military disaster ever to strike Americans. 
Casualty figures vary, but in one devastating blow American losses in- 
cluded: 3,400 casualties, including 2,402 service men and civilians killed, 
and 170 aircraft destroyed and 102 damaged, and all battleships of the 
Pacific fleet were sunk or crippled. Japanese losses were about 49 aircraft 
and 5 midget submarines.*^ 

For the Japanese it was a brilliant tactical feat. Politically it had 
exactly the opposite effect. Attacking without a declaration of war was 
considered treacherous, and the numbed American people reacted in 
outrage with a new and amazing unity of purpose. Gilbert M. Grosvenor 
wrote : 

Reactions of anger, fright, confusion, and determination on that 
Sunday of shock carried over into the following days. Thousands of re- 
servists donned uniforms and headed for mobilization centers; millions 
of others sought to enlist or waited for "Greetings" from their draft 
boards. From a nation of civilians, the United States once again turned 
into one of warriors and war workers.*^ 

The following Thursday Hitler and Mussolini declared war on the 
United States. Dean Acheson wrote, "At last our enemies, with unparal- 
leled stupidity, resolved our dilemmas, clarified our doubts and uncertain- 
ties, and united our people for the long, hard course that the national 
interest required." *^ 

Combat Comes To The Chaplains 

At 0755 that fateful Sunday morning Chaplain Terence P. Finnegan 
prepared for Mass. He stopped at Schofield Barracks chapel to get extra 
candles for service in the assembly hall. As he came in front of the little 
chapel, he saw the planes dive on Pearl Harbor and Hickam Field ; they 
flew so low he could see the pilots. He drove his 1931 Buick in a mad 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


dash to the artillery area to disperse the men assembled for Mass. His car 
was strafed on the way. Finnegan dispersed the men, but a bomb fell 
and killed six men as they took up positions. He said the last rites for 
the dead, drove to the hospital in an ambulance full of wounded men, 
and ministered there to the living and dying. More than 400 litters filled 
the hospital. In the afternoon he went out to a plane that crashed and 
burned, to pull out the broken body of the pilot and administer the last 
rites. He ate breakfast at 5 o'clock that afternoon and didn't ger his 
clothes off for the next three days. Assigned to the 25th Infantr\' Division, 
he was the only Catholic chaplain who served the Schofield Barracks 

Chaplain Alvin Katt at Wheeler field heard blasts on the flight line 
and saw P-40's melt like wax. Within moments men were dying, two of 
them members of his choir. He had a new cantonement type chapel, one 
of the first in the Pacific; a Japanese Zero strafed it with incendiary 
bullets, but miraculously it did not catch fire. Katt joined Finnegan and 
Chaplain Harry P. Richmond at the hospital, where they ministered to 
the injured and dying. 

At Hickam Field, Chaplain Elmer Tiedt heard his four children 
rush in the back door and shout, "There are planes with red balls on 
the wings — all over the place — dropping bombs! Ships are burning in 
the harbor!" The senior chaplain's assistant was killed at the altar in the 
old wooden hangar used for a theater and chapel. Another assistant was 
killed while setting up a machine gun. 

The base hospital was soon filled with casualties. None had dog 
tags, and the problem was how to offer prayer according to the individu- 
al's belief. Chaplains Sliney, Mullan, Patrick and Tiedt made every effort 
to serve each man according to his faith. Thrust suddenly into a combat 
ministry. Chaplain Tiedt had an extra burden to carry : in the confusion 
the Commanding General informed him that Mrs. Tiedt was dead, and 
offered to help with the children. Not until the next day did he learn 
that she was all right. Jorgensen wrote: 

In those first troubled days the chaplains in Hawaii visited the 
sick and dying, set up a central clearing agency to check personnel rec- 
ords for bereaved women and children, set up a radiogram center to 
help men get in touch with anxious mothers, distributed cigarettes, 
candy, soap, razor blades, visited defense positions, and conducted 
burial services. ^^ 

Chaplain Harry P. Richmond, a Jewish Rabbi, remembered his 
feelings that day of infamy. He heard about the attack on the radio and 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

104 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

rushed to the hospital where, "observing patients; some on stretchers on 
the floor, others on white sheets in beds, you knew that war, with all its 
unspeakable horror and terror was here . . . sooner than we dared to 
expect. ... It was time for action, for ministration, for help to those 
who were first in service and sacrifice for God and country." ^^ 

The War Time Chief 

Jorgensen wrote that the religious program in the Army during this 
unprecedented period of challenge was headed by one of the most unusu- 
ally qualified men ever to serve as a chaplain, William R. Arnold.'' 
The historical record of his accomplishments demonstrated the accuracy 
of that evaluation. 

Arnold was born 10 June 1881 in Wooster, Ohio,'^ and educated at 
St. Lawrence School, Muncie, Indiana, and St. Joseph's College, Rens- 
selaer, Indiana. His father was Swiss, and his mother Irish. He made the 
track, baseball, and football teams in school, and learned the trade of 
a tobacco stripper from his father, who was in the tobacco business. (As 
Chief he still proudly carried his union card.) He also worked as a water 
carrier for men toiling on the railroads, and later put in 12-hour days in 
the Muncie steel mills. His theological training was accomplished at St. 
Bernard's Seminary, Rochester, New York. He was ordained a Catholic 
priest 13 June 1908. After ordination he returned to Indiana and ful- 
filled a secret longing by becoming a clown with the Hagenbeck-Wallace 
Circus during his summer vacation. He also beat the bass drum in the 
circus parades. 

His entry into the service was not carefully planned, at least on his 
part. The Bishop summoned him to the office. 

"How'd you like to be a soldier?" his Bishop asked. 

"I don't know," Arnold replied. 

"Well, you'd better find out," said the Bishop. "I've been asked 
to recommend a chaplain and you're it." ^^ 

He was commissioned a chaplain (first lieutenant) on 8 April 1913. 
His first assignment was to Fort Washington, Maryland, where he served 
until ordered to the Philippines in 1915. He then served at Fort Win- 
field Scott, California; Camp Taylor, Kentucky — where he was an in- 
structor at the Chaplain School ; Fort Hancock, New Jersey, from which 
he was sent as a student to the School at Fort Wayne, Michigan; Fort 
Leavenworth, where he became the Director of the Chaplain School. 
He served another tour in the Philippines, and returned in 1931 to Fort 
Bliss, Texas, where he was Division Chaplain, 1st Cavalry Division. In 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


1937, he again became Director of the Chaplain School (which existed 
essentially in name only ) at Fort Leavenworth ; while there he was named 
Chief of Chaplains in that same year. He was the fifth Chief, the first 
Catholic Chief, and first to wear the stars of a Brigadier and then a 
Major General. He served eight years as Chief and presided over the 
largest number of chaplains ever to wear the Army uniform.^*^ 

A biographer described him as big-framed, tough-muscled, graying- 
blonde, with the mind of a practical fighting man and the heart of a 
Catholic priest. He spoke with vigor, certainty, and conviction. "We 
are at war with pagans, atheists, and Satan himself," he said. He re- 
minded his chaplains that they were noncombatants, and should do 
nothing to jeopardize that standing; he also said, ", . . if there is need 
for him to defend his cause or himself in battle, let him take it as his duty. 
A dead chaplain is no good to his men." °' 

With the personality of a leader, and the ability of an extremely 
competent administrator, he regularly wrote articles for church peri- 
odicals and secular magazines. On several occasions, in his unique posi- 
tion as the ranking pastor of the Army, he addressed the country on a 
nationwide radio hookup. He was fair-minded and far-seeing in his 
relations with the many denominations in the country. The Christian 
Science representative commended Arnold for his cooperation and flex- 
ibility in waiving requirements for a theological degree and public min- 
istry so that their men could become chaplains. *Tt was pointed out by 
the Committee on Publication of the Mother Church that Christian Sci- 
ence has no seminary and no ordained ministers." (The Navy was inflex- 
ible on this point and only one Christian Scientist served as a chaplain 
in that arm during World War H.)"^ Bishop R. Bland Michell of the 
Protestant Episcopal Church in 1941 quoted someone as saying, "If 
Chaplain Arnold had been in charge of things a few centuries ago there 
would have been no Reformation!" And the Southern Baptist magazine. 
Commission, said of him in November 1943, "No man could be fairer 
or more impartial in his dealing with men representing various religious 
bodies." '' 

Chaplain Arnold was particularly skilled at speaking to parents in 
their concern for the spiritual welfare of sons and daughters in service. 
In the popular press and radio he assured them that Army chaplains 
would do the job entrusted to them. He w^as joined in a radio address 
by Army Chief of Staff, General George C. Marshall, who said: 

"Our corps of chaplains ... is well organized and will be adequately 
equipped to provide religious services and training for all denomina- 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

106 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

tions similar to those found in the average city parish. There should be 
no fear that any young man will suffer spiritual loss during the period 
of his military service, and on the contrary, we hope that the young sol- 
dier will return to his home with a keener understanding of the sacred 
ideals for which our churches stand." ^° 

In 1940 the Secretary of War asked the Chief for a plan to meet 
the spiritual needs of the Army under the Selective Service Act. Arnold 
mentioned seven points that were to be of importance throughout the 
war: Procurement and Distribution of Chaplains; Training; Chapels; 
Cooperation with Church Groups; Publicity; Cooperation of Military 

He said procurement would be difficult but should be made on an 
equitable basis for the three major faith groups. He advised using a pool 
of chaplains to meet rapidly changing requirements. This was established 
in connection with the chaplain school. But the need was so critical the 
"pool" never got full enough to be of much value. Under training, he 
mentioned that a Plans and Training Division would be established in 
his office and that the Chaplain School would be reactivated for training 
new chaplains. He said cooperation with church groups was an important 
function of his office, not only in procurement of chaplains but in fur- 
thering the entire religious program of the Army. Publicity directed to 
the churches and the general public should promote understanding and 

In pre-war years Arnold protected the chaplaincy from the Army. 
Next, he had to protect it from the church. During his early years as 
Chief, Arnold insisted that the role of the chaplain was as clergyman. 
He emphasized the chaplain's essential role as a man of God, and saw to 
it that their professional status was protected by regulation and strict 
accountability to those regulations through a report form that made it 
glaringly clear when a chaplain had been assigned additional duties by 
a recalcitrant commander. Early in the war Arnold insisted that the 
religious program in the Army should be under the direction of chap- 
lains. Paul Moody, a reserve chaplain who had been appointed head 
of the General Commission on Chaplains, thought that he would be in 
charge of chaplain activities even as Bishop Brent, a civilian, had been 
in World War I. When this plan was brought to Arnold's attention by 
General Marshall, the Chief of Chaplains said, "General, you have a 
chaplain organization." That settled the issue. 

In World War I prominent civilian ministers were sent overseas by 
civilian agencies, but at government expense, to conduct preaching mis- 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


sions. Several prominent churchmen tried to effect this same program 
in World War II, but Arnold successfully resisted the attempt because 
it would have removed control of the religious program from the Army 
to an outside agency. The Chief's office approved those churchmen who 
did go. 

Supervisory chaplains were appointed at theatre, army, corps, and 
division levels. They did not have command authority but supervised 
and coordinated chaplain activities, programs, services, coverage, supply, 
and assignments. Keeping the chaplaincy within the Army structure 
was one of the significant achievements in chaplain history. 

Soon after he became Chief, the title of Monsignor was bestowed 
upon him by the Catholic Church. He was promoted to Brigadier Gen- 
eral and finally to Major General.^^ In April 1945 he was awarded the 
Distinguished Service Medal for service with great distinction in his 
8 year tour as Chief; he was also designated Assistant Inspector General 
with duty relating to religious matters in the Army. His church then 
appointed him Military Delegate with the title of Bishop.^^ 

George F. Rixey was chosen by Arnold to be his Deputy Chief of 
Chaplains, and that position was advanced in grade to Brigadier Gen- 
eral during the war. Rixey was a line officer in World War I, and then a 
chaplain. A Methodist with a wealth of experience, abundant energy 
and a keen mind, Rixey was an effective complement to Arnold. Arnold 
was succeeded in 1945 by Luther D. Miller, and Rixey by William D. 

The Chaplain School Reactivated 

The Chaplain School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, graduated its 
last class in 1928. By 1940 "all that was left of the Chaplain's School . . . 
was the name, together with a fund of $101.92, two hundred pounds 
of records, a library of fifteen books, and ten framed pictures of past 
classes."^* In 1939 concern was expressed to train chaplains for a pos- 
sibly imminent wartime ministry. On 1 1 December Major General H. J. 
Brees of Fort Sam Houston, Texas, who commanded the Eighth Corps 
Area, suggested in a letter to the Chief of Chaplains that new chaplains 
be given "a brief course of instruction upon entry into the service, which 
would tend to orient them and give them a more practical approach to 
their job when they join their station." ^"^ Correspondence on the subject 
was also exchanged with the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, the 
Secretary of War, and the Adjutant General. A plan was dra\vn up by 
Mr. Bruce Skaggs, Chief Clerk, Office of the Chief of Chaplains. Two 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

108 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

days after Pearl Harbor the Chief requested the plan be put into 

Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, was selected as the site. (Curiously 
the order read "Fort Benjamin Franklin." ) '" Chaplain William D. Cleary 
of Fort Knox, Kentucky, the Armored Force Chaplain, was selected as 
the first commandant. Cleary was born in Tipperary, Ireland. He 
graduated from the Sorbonne in Paris, and the College des Irlandais, and 
was ordained to the priesthood of the Catholic Church at St. Sulpice, 
Paris, on 14 June 1908. He came to America and ministered as a curate 
in several parishes of the diocese of Brooklyn. In 1918 he volunteered as 
a chaplain, served in both the United States and with the AEF in Belgium 
and France and accompanied the Army of Occupation in Germany. 
Twenty years of service followed, including two tours of duty in the Philip- 
pine Islands. 

On 12 January 1942 orders were issued to Chaplain Cleary and 
Chaplain Herman Riddle Page, who was selected to be Secretary of the 
School, to proceed to Fort Benjamin Harrison. Oscar W. Reynolds, Paul 
B. Rupp, Mylon D. Merchant, and Ralph C. Deibert were the chaplains 
assigned as instructors. On 2 February 1942 the school was activated. 
Seventy-five chaplains were in the first class. The sessions ran 28 days, 
with 200 hours of instruction in military organization, customs and 
courtesies, military law, graves registration, first aid, military administra- 
tion, chaplain activities, and other subjects. (Complete schedule at 
Appendix D.) Outdoor periods included calisthenics, dismounted drill, 
gas mask drill, and outdoor map orientation. "Take cover!" became a 
familiar warning during hikes and meant that everyone "hit the dirt" 
as though in an actual air raid.^^ 

The school was officially designated the "Chaplain School" rather 
than the "Chaplain's School" on 1 April 1942. Only four sessions were 
held in Indiana. Expanded mission requirements outgrew the facilities 
there, and several universities offered to house the school; Harvard's 
offer was accepted. The school graduated its last class in Indiana on 10 
August 1942 and began operation in Massachusetts 2 days later. The 
chaplains were housed in Perkins Hall. The Government paid the uni- 
versity about $10.50 for each student who used the facilities. Being a part 
of historic Harvard University was itself a privilege. Each day the students 
passed the spot where, in an earlier day, the president of the college, a 
militia chaplain, led the troops in prayer on their way to fortify Bunker 
Hill. Drill was held on Soldiers' Field, remembered in Lowell's stirring 
"Commemoration Ode." On their way to classes they passed along a 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


street bearing the name of a distinguished chaplain of the Revolution, 
between buildings where Washington quartered his men and past the 
church in which he worshipped. Assemblies were held in the building 
dedicated to the memory of Harvard Civil War dead. Distinguished vis- 
itors to Harvard, while the School was there, included the Duke of Wind- 
sor, Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, and military leaders of the 
United States and allied nations. 

From 75 students per session to 450 required a large increase in 
faculty. Sixteen additional chaplain instructors were added to the school. 
Cleary remained Commandant for most of the war, and went on to 
become the second Deputy Chief of Chaplains. In the spring of 1942 
Chaplain Page was elected to succeed his late father as Protestant Epis- 
copal Bishop of Northern Michigan and left the Army. Temporary mem- 
berships were made available to faculty members of the Chaplain School 
in both the Faculty Club of Harvard University and the famed Hasty 
Pudding Club-Institute of 1770. The noted organist E. Power Biggs 
rendered a half hour organ recital each Sunday morning on the baroque 
organ at Germanic Museum. All in all, it was a cultural and social high 
water mark for the Chaplain School. 

Unlike the Training School for Chaplains and approved Chaplain 
Candidates of the First World War, the weeding out of undesirable 
officers was not made a function of the World War II Chaplain School. 
In defining his poHcy in this regard the Chief declared : "The primary 
purpose of the Chaplain School is to train chaplains. Any undesirable 
officers attending . . . should be reported to the Chief of Chaplains with 
appropriate recommendation relative to their discharge." 

Pathe News shot a film, "The Army Chaplain," at the school under 
the supervision of Chaplain Ralph C. Deibert. Sequences depicted the 
training of Army chaplains and used the class, faculty, and staff found 
there in December 1942. Rapid growth made for some initial awkward- 
ness — six men were sometimes assigned to rooms meant to house two; 
incoming classes overlapped outgoing classes. By the summer of 1943 
things were going smoothly and the length of the sessions was increased 
to five, then six weeks. Twenty-one sessions were held at Harvard. During 
1944 the attendance decreased to less than 200. As military installations 
came to be less crowded, a decision was made to move the school to an 
Army post and stop paying rent to a civilian institution. In August 1944 
the school was transferred to Fort Devens, Massachusetts, which made 
possible such realistic training as ship-to-shore landing and passage 
through an infiltration course. In July 1945 another move was made, this 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

110 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

time to Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, where the Services of Supply were con- 
centrating their schools. There the school remained for more than a year. 
Though each location had its advantages, summer heat in Georgia proved 
to be as real an impediment to training activities as the snow and frost of 
a Massachusetts winter.*^^ 

During the first sessions of the school, chaplains were so urgently 
needed for duty with troops that men considered too old for such service 
were chosen as instructors. Only one chaplain on the first faculty was 
less than 56 years of age. Most of them were without combat experience 
since 1918, but some men from combat areas became instructors during 
the second year. An attempt was made to have a member of each large 
denomination represented on the faculty, and upon his transfer, a suc- 
cessor was chosen from the same denomination. 

There were 8,302 chaplains enrolled in the 35 sessions of the school 
before the end of 1945 and 8,183 of them graduated. Of the 119 who 
did not complete the course, 55 were ordered away before the end of 
the first session. Some of the remaining 64 failed because of sickness or 
other emergency, but 50 were unsuccessful chiefly for academic reasons. 
A chaplain of the Free French and three from the Philippine Army took 
the course. In 1943 an advanced course was scheduled to train chaplains 
with experience for supervisory positions.®^ Chaplain Honeywell wrote: 

"One of the most striking features of the wartime schools was the 
indiscriminate mingling of clergymen of many and diverse groups in 
preparation for common task of religious ministry. This can be appre- 
ciated only against the background of misunderstanding, distrust, and 
rivalry which has stimulated and perpetuated the divisions among re- 
ligious groups. The close association of students living and working to- 
gether brought a more adequate mutual understanding of beliefs and 
practices, of aims and motives. To some this better acquaintance was 
a revelation." '° 

How efTective was the training? Hubert A. Allenby wrote : "My ex- 
periences at the Chaplain School have been a source of unfailing help .... 
Kindly say to all that we are by far better chaplains for their teaching 
in a month, than we could have been in years without their help." Alpha 
H. Kenna said, 'T profited greatly by the four weeks spent in the Chaplain 
School and I am grateful for having had the opportunity to attend. You 
who direct the school cannot know just how important your work really 
is. You would have to be in the field to observe the difference in the work 
of the man who has had no training at the Chaplain School and the work 
of that same man after he has completed the course." Wright T. Moore 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


said, "I hope you will not consider me presumptuous in stating an opinion. 
I believe that you have a very fine faculty, well selected and well trained 
for a most difficult task." Another, Edward J. Mattson, wrote: "They are 
men of excellent qualification. They are doing a fine job." "^ 

Additional Training 

Different combat arms have distinctiv^e psychological problems 
which affect the chaplain's work. This was true especially of the Army 
Air Corps, where fighting conditions sometimes "tended toward 
recklessness or a degree of fatalism," according to Air Force historian 
Jorgensen. The Chaplain School allowed little time to cover such matters, 
so the Air Corps opened its own school at San Antonio, Texas, in June 
1944; it gave two weeks of special training to chaplains who graduated 
from the Chaplain School and were selected for duty with air personnel. 
A parallel course was designed for enlisted men who \vere to serve as 
chaplains' assistants. Twenty-two sessions were held and 1,089 chaplains 
attended. Completion of the course was a prerequisite for assignment 
overseas. Twenty sessions of the enlisted course were held and all but 6 
of the 945 students completed the course. Seventy-four were members of 
the Women's Army Corps.'" (Additional Air Corps developments affect- 
ing the chaplaincy are dealt with in the next chapter. ) 

From 1940 on there was a renewed interest in decentralized train- 
ing. Chaplains near Boston met at Fort Banks every Tuesday morning 
for 10 weeks in the summer of 1942. One division provided two hours 
of instruction on Tuesdays and Thursdays for two months. Many of the 
schools on scattered installations used the Extension Course material after 
correspondence work was suspended early in 1942. 

A school at Camp Blanding used imagination in its 1942 session. 
The school ended with an exercise in which all chaplains were provided 
maps and other equipment and required to coordinate their activities to 
actual troop movements and terrain. A salvage depot, collecting station, 
and provost marshal's post were established. Soldiers, tagged to indicate 
a variety of simulated wounds, were posted through a wide area, and the 
chaplains were required to find them and give proper treatment and 
disposition to all. This involved selecting a site and laying out a cemetery. 
Elements of play thrown in for good measure included evidence that some 
men were attempting to desert, and a gas alarm in the midst of opera- 
tions. The final requirement was that chaplains submit burial reports 
and letters of condolence." ^ 

The Chaplain's Manual, first published in 1926, was reissued in 1937 
and 1941 by the Chief of Chaplains Office. It was rewritten in 1944. 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

112 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

Honeywell commented, "As the great majority both of chaplains and 
soldiers had been in the service too short a time for their civilian view- 
point to be radically changed, the manual was written by a Reserve 
chaplain with long experience in education in the belief that he would 
understand the mind of the citizen soldier." '* 

The Jumpers 

The parachute padres of World War II were something of a "new 
breed" in the chaplaincy. The training they received in Jump School was 
physically punishing and exhausting. The fact that they were chaplains 
got them special treatment — in the wrong direction ! Every sergeant who 
ever sat through a dull sermon felt called upon to even the score; while 
the hazing was good natured and well intentioned, the extra ache in the 
muscles was just as real as if the design were malevolent. Stories about 
training, running, being dragged by a chute, learning parachute landing 
falls, and pushups by the score, were revealed in several books and articles 
which remain entertaining and informative." 

The story is told, perhaps apocryphal, that when Ike visited the 
paratroopers before their drop into Normandy, he asked a young soldier, 
"Do you like jumping out of airplanes?" "No sir." came the instant 
response. "Then why do you do it?" Without hesitation the trooper re- 
plied, "Because I like being around people who like jumping out of air- 
planes." Young, reckless volunteers needed chaplains too; the men with 
crosses on their helmets joined them. 

Flying magazine credits Chaplain (CPT) Raymond S. Hall with 
being the first airborne chaplain. He took the regular five week training 
course, "and started the practice of having chaplains jump with their 
troops." '" Hall was a former rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of 
Lowell, Massachusetts. In answer to a reporter's "Why?" he replied, "It 
increases attendance at church, and the men can talk to me now." There 
was a bond among those who wore wings. To really belong the chaplain 
had to jump. 

"This is our chaplain" said a young paratrooper at Fort Bragg, 
North Carolina. The chaplain was CathoHc, the parents of the soldier 
Methodist, and he himself was not affiliated with any church. But the 
chaplain was still his chaplain. 

"... A chaplain, in the total institutional environment of the military, 
serves the entire military society rather than those of his own denomina- 
tion alone. This is perhaps the most important difference between any 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


institutional chaplaincy and the parochial ministry to a congregation 
of a particular denomination," wrote Richard G. Hutcheson.' ' 

Donald R. Burgett, a young private, remembered his days at Ben- 
ning on the drop zone. Havang "successfully" completed his jump he 
was limping along toward the trucks when someone yelled, "Look out!" 
Almost overhead a man came hurling down with an unopened chute; it 
was pulled out of the pack tray, but remained closed. The jumper hit the 
ground a few yards away with a sound like a large mattress going 
floomp. Burgett went over to him and nearly fell over when the man 
opened his eyes and asked, "What happened?" 

"Your chute didn't open," Burgett said. 

"You're kidding. Help me up, I've got to get going," the man said. 

"You're not going anywhere," a sergeant replied as a jeep pulled up, 
"except to a hospital," The man protested that he had another jump that 
night. He tried to get up, but could only raise his head, then let it fall 
back. Then Burgett noticed crosses on his collar. "Who else but a chap- 
plain could fall a thousand feet with an unopened chute and live? He 
had suffered a broken leg and internal injuries, but just how bad I 
never did find out." '^ 

If one chaplain came down without a chute, another had a chute 
but didn't come down. Alfred J. Guenette, formerly of the faculty of 
Assumption College, Worcester, Massachusetts, made a training jiftnp 
with the Airborne Command at Camp Mackall, near Pinehurst, North 
Carolina ; with a detail of troops, he attempted a jump from an aircraft 
over the Sandhills area. "His parachute pack caught on the door of the 
plane, and he was held fast about a foot and a half below the door." The 
men inside the plane didn't know about it, but other pilots saw him, 
radioed, and he was pulled inside; uninjured, he jumped again the next 

The Army Builds Chapels 

During the unprecedented mobilization for World War II the Army 
secured many things it had done without. Of the 160 posts that needed 
chapels only 1 7 had them prior to mobilization. In twenty-two years only 
$969,542 was spent for chapels in the Regular Army. When church call 
sounded the men marched for services to theaters, mess halls, recreation 
buildings, tents, the parade ground or a clearing in the woods; in some 
cases they built chapels for themselves out of donated, salvaged, and 
scrounged materials. 

President Roosevelt signed congressional bill HR-3617, Public 13, 
on 17 March 1941. It authorized construction of new chapels at a previ- 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

114 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

ously undreamed of rate. The pen used was presented to the Chief of 
Chaplains. It was Arnold, George F. Rixey, John F. Monaham, and A.S. 
Goodyear who came up with a master plan to build 604 chapels at a cost 
of $12,816,880 within six months.*" (BuiU to be temporary and known 
as "cantonment" or "mobilization" regimental chapels, many are still in 
use and emotional attachment to them was deep and real. There are few 
chaplains who never used one of these buildings in their ministry to 
troops and dependents. One at Fort Benning, Georgia, was specifically 
designated of historical significance and to be preserved with 
Bi-centennial funds.*') At the time, the chapels gave a real shot in the 
arm to the chaplains, enabling them to have permanent places in which 
to develop a full religious program. 

Simple dignity marked the outward apearance of the chapel; the 
construction was of clapboard on a wooden framework, set on a concrete 
foundation. Built with a slanting roof whose peak was 29 feet 6 inches 
high, the chapel was equipped with a steeple rising 23 feet above the 
roof. The building proper was 95 feet 7 inches long and 37 feet wide. 

The interior was equally simple and attractive. The pews accommo- 
dated 300 downstairs and were built with slat backs and folding kneeling 
benches. The balcony, which seated an additional 57 worshippers or could 
be used for the choir, contained an electric organ. 

The altar attracted the most attention. Designed to serve all faiths, it 
was movable and constructed to be adaptable to Protestant, Catholic, 
and Jewish services. Incorporated in the wall above it was an Ark to hold 
the Jewish Book of the Law. All of this was an innovation in Army 
chapels. The Quartermaster General, Edmund B. Gregory, said at the 
dedication of the first cantonment chapel : "There is nothing in construc- 
tion that could stamp it as so distinctively American as this altar, because 
only in a free country could you find a church built to be used for worship 
by Catholic, Protestant and Jew alike." *^ 

The first chapel in the building program was constructed at Arling- 
ton Cantonment, in a thinned-out apple orchard ; it centered on and faced 
the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The initiatory Ceremony was held on 
27 July 1941 and was attended by General Marshall, Chaplain Arnold, 
Major General Gregory, and other notables. The ceremony was broadcast 
over a nation-wide hookup by the Columbia Broadcasting Company. 
Wide publicity in the press followed. The question in the minds of many 
anxious mothers and fathers was : "What will the Army do to my son in 
terms of his faith?" The building of the chapels and publicity about them 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


were intended to give a positive answer. Marshall said, "We are deter- 
mined to have a clean army, morally and physically, and these chapels are 
a contribution to that end." Gregory said, ". . . no matter how well a man 
is fed and clothed or trained, he cannot be a real soldier unless he has 
within him a sincere belief in the way of living of the nation which he 
represents. Nothing \vill contribute more to that belief than the oppor- 
tunity for every man to worship as he chooses." ^^ 

To these chapels men could come for counseling, and at odd hours, 
for private devotions. Lonely soldiers sought permission to play the piano 
and organ, and spontaneous hymn singing helped many a young man 
through periods of loneliness and discouragement. These white wooden 
chapels so resembled the little country churches dotting the American 
scene that they were readily recognizable in a new environment. They 
drew men like a familiar magnet. 

In addition to the cantonment or mobilization chapels, smaller posts 
and organizations got combined theaters, recreation buildings and 
chapels. They were designed for stations with from 300 to 1,000 troops. 
Another type \vhich served as theater and chapel was designed for 
installations with 1,000 to 2,500 troops. (The cantonment was for regi- 
ments or units of 3,000. ) 

A simpler version, known as the theater-of-operations type, was built 
overseas. It measured 20 by 100 feet and was built at an average cost of 
$7,000. By V-J Day there were 1,532 Army chapels in use in the United 
States. This number included 145 of the chapel-theater buildings and a 
number of permanent structures. There were 162 of the theater-of-opera- 
tions chapels and 1 , 1 3 7 of the mobilization type located at 43 7 camps. The 
total cost of 1,299 buildings intended only for use as chapels ^vas 

These were the official government funded chapels. The unofficial 
chapels built by the men overseas were often triumphs of ingenuity and 
hard work. Pews were made from cocoanut plams cut into logs on the 
ground. Packing cases formed pulpits, mattress covers draped the altars, 
the roofs were often made of thatch, bamboo, corrugated tin, salvaged 
lumber, or the spreading arms of standing trees. Reportedly, the men 
showed greater interest in the chapels they helped build. Altar appoint- 
ments were made from shell casings, bomb fins, and other implements of 
war. Many a dedication service included the scripture: "They shall beat 
their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. . . ." 
(Isaiah 2:4.) 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

116 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

Chaplains of World War II indicated that usually they had a chapel 
in the United States, but almost never once they were abroad. Kenneth W. 
Fristoe tells of building a thatched roof chapel in the jungles of New 
Guinea with the help of "Fuzzy Wuzzy" natives, and dedicating it on 
Mother's Day with an attendance of over 400. Gerhard L. Belgum wrote 
of building a chapel in Recreation Park, Long Beach, California, ". . . in 
one day with Carpenter's Union assistance." Kenneth L. Ames wrote 
about "Arabs and jackasses strolling through morning worship" and 
Christmas eve communion services in a vault below an old castle in Italy. 
John R. Himies told of remembering "services in a barn in Holland with 
the altar on the back of a manure spreader. (It was clean.)" He also 
recalled going "from company to company, platoon to platoon in 
Bastogne, nailing a crucifix to a tree for church, hymnals and scripture 
in my big pockets, scarf on my neck, and having church for the Protestants 
while the Catholics kept watch. (The Protestants returned the favor for 
the Catholics.) One Sunday and Monday I had twenty-seven services." ^^ 
In Italy a chaplain used a stable. Other inspiring services were reported as 
held in wine cellars, an attic, a railroad station, a royal palace, a cave, and 
under the sky. Chaplains were often welcomed to churches in the countries 
where American troops found themselves. Examples are St. Paul's of 
London and the Cathedral of Reykjavik. Chaplain James L. Blakeney, 
a nonconformist minister, broke a 900 year-old tradition when he 
preached Westminster Abbey on Thanksgiving Day 1942. He was assisted 
in the service by Furman E. Jordan and Maurice W. Reynolds.^^ 

Unusual worship sites were so numerous that they became the norm. 
In Miami Beach, Army Service schools were located in 275 hotels; a 
Sunday School was established in the gambling casino of the Cromwell 
Hotel ; church services were held on the golf course, in theaters, and at 
Flamingo Park, with attendance from five to ten thousand at the Park.^' 

Publicity of a sort was given to a "converted" chapel at Will Rogers 
Field. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Chaplain Filing E. Ramsey discovered 
that there was no chapel and no materials immediately available to build 
one. He got permission to use a discarded corn crib and an old chicken 
coop which were revamped by the men into a simple but serviceable 
chapel. Robert L. Ripley, of "Believe It or Not" fame, visited the field 
in 1943 and was so impressed with the job done that he featured it in a 
syndicated cartoon carried by newspapers all over the world.^^ 

Edward R. Fitzgerald built a chapel at Greenlawn Common, Eng- 
land, from the crates in which gliders were shipped. When asked what 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


he would name it, he quipped, "St. Dismas. Everything in it has been 
stolen." '' 

Howard Foran reported that his chapel was not a thing of outward 
beauty; nevertheless, he enjoyed good attendance. His colonel asked, 
"Chaplain, how do you get so many men at services?" The answer was, 
"My shoes wear out faster than my pants." ''° That conversation illu- 
strated the prevailing view among chaplains and their congregations. 
Content was more important than form, basics did not depend on ac- 
coutrements. Worship existed where two or three gathered together. 
General Marshall was concerned that chaplains have the proper equip- 
ment to do their job but he also said, "A good chaplain does not require 
a church; a poor one will empty a cathedral." ^' The annual reports of 
attendance figures from the Chief's office testified that there were indeed 
"good" chaplains on the job. 

Wartime Ministry — Defensive Phase 

What happened in the Army created the setting for the chaplains' 
ministry. After the period of rapid build up, the Pearl Harbor attack and 
early reversals in the Pacific, the Army was in a defensive posture before 
it could move to an offensive stance. It was a training Army, an enlarging 
and preparing Army before it could be a fighting Army. A brief look at 
the military situation helps focus the historical picture in which the 
ministry of chaplains was performed. 

The Arcadia Conference in late December 1941 involved President 
Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and their advisors. They faced a 
most disheartening global picture. In less than three weeks after Pearl 
Harbor the Japanese won Wake and Guam, Hong Kong was over- 
whelmed, and Malaya, Netherlands Indies, and the fortress of Singa- 
pore were threatened. On the western front there was fear that the 
Soviets would collapse within the year, and the British position in the 
Middle East was a question mark. In this difficult situation the allied 
leaders made a decision that shaped the future conduct of the war; the 
main effort was to be directed toward the defeat of Germany; Japan 
would come later. Operations in 1942 would be defensive and prepara- 
tory. Not until 1943 could the allies plan a return to the European conti- 
nent ; as it turned out, that plan was postponed.^" 

Desperate efforts were made to bolster the defense of Hawaii, the 
Philippines, the Panama Canal, Alaska, and the U.S. west coast. How- 
ever, the Philippines, Burma, Malaya, Thailand, French Indochina and 
the Malay Archipelago fell to Japanese forces by 6 May 1942.^' Plans 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

246-684 O - 78 - 9 

118 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

shifted to the defense of Austraha in the Pacific. The Battle of Midway 
in June 1942 was one of the most decisive engagements of the war. Two 
months later American forces shifted from defense to offense by landing 
on Guadalcanal. Despite Arcadia's "Germany first" decision, 60 percent 
of the Army troops overseas were in the Pacific and the China-Burma- 
India theatre in July 1942. 

On the other front, troops were deployed to Iceland and Ireland. 
Not until August was the U.S. Army Air Force in the British Isles strong 
enough to fly a single independent bombing mission over Northern France. 
Early plans for an invasion of Europe across the channel were shelved 
in order to give logistical aid to the British in Egypt; then the invasion 
of North Africa, which marked the end" of the defensive phase in the 
European Theater, delayed the Normandy invasion for another year.^* 
Training, preparation and limited deployment characterized the first year 
of the war for the Army. It was in this setting that chaplains ministered. 

Some seminarians have been introduced to the concept of "occa- 
sional ministry," i.e., ministry determined by the occasion in which one 
finds oneself. From reports, diaries, questionnaires, and printed articles 
it was clear that the majority of chaplains in this period considered them- 
selves primarily clergymen in uniform. They preached, baptized, prayed, 
observed the Lord's Supper, conducted weddings and funerals, made 
pastoral visits to the sick and the jailed, and counseled the troubled. These 
were their main duties. But the unusual "occasions" in which they found 
themselves shaped their ministeries in ways unknown to their civilian 

The absence of families as it affected religious education programs; 
the transience of military worshippers ; daily close contact with troops in 
all their activities; the young age of some soldiers (Edward L. Elson 
claimed the first all-teenage division of draftees) ; ^^ and the problems of 
older men uprooted from families and careers ; the danger and loneliness 
of war; the reality that one cannot practice for emergencies, but must 
react without previous experience as a guide; all were factors that con- 
tributed to the concept of ministering to the occasion. Awareness of these 
factors led John R. Himes to say of his preaching in the Army, "Any 
sermon which does not make at attempt to speak to the congregation 
where it is, is either stupid or dishonest." ^^ The mountain climber who 
responded that he climbed a mountain because it was there voiced the 
feelings of many a chaplain; they did what they did because they were 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


After Pearl Harbor the chaplains in the Philippines were the first to 
face sustained combat with their men. On 8 December, 150 Japanese 
planes bombed Pampanga for two hours. While the airfield was bombed 
and strafed, Chaplain Joseph V. LaFleur went among the wounded and 
dying to offer prayer and help get them to the hospital. He stayed on 
Bataan with his men. With 750 other American prisoners, he was crowded 
into two holds of a Japanses ship. At sea the ship was hit by two torpedoes. 
The Japanese tried to kill the survivors. Lieutenant Joseph Coe reported 
that the last he saw of La Fleur, the chaplain was helping wounded men 
get out of the hold and on the deck. The Japanese shot at them and only 
two or three survived. La Fleur died as he lived, serving his men.®' 

Chaplains Leslie Zimmerman, John F. Duffy, Matthew Zerbas, John 
A. Wilson, Alfred C. Oliver, Ralph W. Brown, John K. Bomeman and 
Robert P. Taylor were among those who distinguished themselves by 
heroism in the first days of the war.®^ Bomeman went through dangerous 
lines to Manila at least twice before it fell to the enemy, in order to get 
messages from his men to their families. Brown, under fire, earned a Dis- 
tinguished Service Cross for carrying the wounded from under the nose 
of the enemy. He said, "We made it to the hospital. I didn't think par- 
ticularly about it until the thing was over. It was a job to be done." That 
note was sounded again and again by chaplains all over the world. Time 
magazine reported that Taylor "gave the most recent superb example of 
a chaplain's courage ... in braving machine gun fire to rescue the 
wounded." ®® With the fall of Corregidor and Bataan, 21 chaplains be- 
came prisoners of the Japanese; within weeks, the total was 32."° 

The ministry among American prisoners of war in the Pacific was 
characterized by service under extremely difficult and cruel conditions. 

Taylor was one of the chaplains on the infamous Bataan death 
march, from Bataan through the streets of Manila to a prison camp eight 
miles east of Cabanatuan. Taylor served as chaplain in the prison camp 
hospital where he ministered to more than ten thousand patients. In the 
summer of 1944 his compassion and self sacrifice led to the most gruelling 
and agonizing period of suffering and hardship in his life. He was caught 
smuggling food and medicine to the patients. "Carabao (water buffalo) 
caravans brought sacks of rice into the prison camp and that is how we 
smuggled in the goods," Taylor recalled. American prisoners of war who 
drove the carts established contact with the local Filipinos who loaded the 
rice sacks ; the Filipinos hid medicine and foodstuffs, obtained from wel- 
fare workers in Manila, between the sacks. The drivers managed to slip 
the goods to Taylor. One day the guards caught them. As punishment 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

120 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

Taylor was kept in torturous solitary confinement for fourteen weeks, 
in a cage so small he could neither stand up nor lie down. Later he was 
transferred to Japan by ship along with a number of other prisoners. 
American planes attacked them enroute ; two ships sank and many POWs 
were killed. Miraculously Taylor survived the bombings, but was struck 
in the wrist and leg by flying fragments from bombs dropped by his own 
coiintrymen. "We finally got to Japan with about 450 of the 800 Ameri- 
cans we started with, and within a couple of months 250 of them died," 
Tavlor remembered with sorrow. "By that time there were not many of 
us left." ^°^ 

He continued to minister in the camp and conducted baptismal 
services for converts at night because the Japanese would not let them use 
water for this purpose. (Taylor became Chief of Air Force Chaplains in 

The Japanese attitude toward POW chaplains varied from place to 
place and changed for the better in time during the conduct of the war. 
At first the Japanese would permit no religious services, and viewed 
chaplains as propagandists ; they required that sermons be submitted in 
advance for approval. James E. Davis was captured on Guam in Decem- 
ber 1941, transferred to Zentsuji Prisori Camp in Japan, and conducted 
services unhampered until the end of the war. Chaplain Alfred C. Oliver's 
experience was quite different. His neck was broken by a guard's rifle 
butt when he refused to tell how prisoners were obtaining help from 
friendly Filipinos. Of the 33 chaplains who at some time were in Prison 
Camp No. 1, Cabanatuan, 18 did not live to regain their freedom. '"" 

Chaplain Oliver, the senior chaplain, headed the chaplain organiza- 
tion and made religious assignments. A church was begun with a con- 
stitution and a declaration of faith. Members pledged themselves to the 
basic principles of Christian living, and to join a church in their home 
communities when they returned. A laymen's organization included ush- 
ers, deacons for serving communion, and visitors to assist in calling on 
the sick. The chaplains "grew" their chapels by planting papaya trees in 
one corner of the compound, with the permission of the camp com- 
mander; the trees grew quickly to a good height, and a thatch lean-to was 
erected over the altar. There were choirs, baptismal services, Bible studies ; 
worship experiences included singing hymns copied on milk can wrappers. 
(The church kept records, which were buried to prevent destruction by 
the Japanese ; after the liberation of the camp they were recovered and 
preserved among the archives of the Army. ) A six-day chaplain confer- 
ence was held, 6-1 1 September 1943 in which ways to increase usefulness 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


were discussed, not only in the prisoner of war situation but in chaplain 
responsibilities to come, whether in war or peace, A number of proposals 
were considered and recommendations were made to the Chief of Chap- 
lains as well as to leaders of various denominations concerning changes in 
administration and other matters which would improve the effectiveness 
of chaplain work. Several of those proposals were later adopted by the 
Army. On the Sunday nearest the Fourth of July one congregation sang 
"God Bless America"; it was warned that a repetition would be severely 
punished. ^"^ 

John Anthony Wilson, a Catholic priest from Celina, Ohio told of 
being put on a Japanese coal freighter with a Protestant chaplain Leslie 
Zimmerman and 1 ,200 American POWs. They sailed from Manila Bay to 
Maji, Japan, via Hong Kong, and were taken off the ship in Formosa 
where they spent two and one-half months. This 600 mile trip took 40 
days. Finally they took another ship for 21 days before arriving in Japan. 
"It is hard to conceive human beings being treated so heartlessly by other 
human beings .... We were all more dead than alive upon arriving in 
Japan." "^ 

Wilson also told of another, larger ship with 1,800 Americans and 
two Catholic chaplains that left Manila; after 10 days at sea, it was 
torpedoed by an American submarine. It stayed afloat about three hours. 
Approximately half of the American POWs jumped overboard expecting 
to be picked up by Japanese destroyers. The Japanese took all the life- 
boats and life preservers, ". . . our boys had precious few." The Japanese 
picked up their own survivors and left the Americans to their fate. Among 
the men sticking with the ship were the two priests, Thomas Scicina of 
Indianapolis and Walter O'Brien of San Francisco, 

These two chaplains took up places, one fore and ther other aft, and 
heard confessions of all the Catholic men who came, then they ministered 
as best they could to the rest on board, praying and doing what they could 
to prepare the men for death which was inevitable. The ship broke up in 
about 3 hours and sank with all hands lost, including the 2 priests. As far 
as I know only about 12 men escaped death out of the 1,800. Some made 
it back to the US via China and Russia, they were picked up by a passing 
Japanese ship (not of the convoy) and placed aboard the ship I was on. 
I got the tragic details from 2 of these American POWs."^ 

Specialized Ministry 

In the early phase of World War II, a relatively small number of 
Army chaplains faced combat with their men, or continued in a pastoral 
relationship as detained persons serving American and Allied'prisoners of 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

122 . THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

war. For the great majority the setting of their ministry was determined 
by the key word : training. Chaplains were either in training themselves, 
at the Chaplain School, or with units in advanced training and on 
maneuvers; or they ministered to men who were in training, at basic 
advanced, service school, or line units. Still others were in specialized 
ministries to stockades, hospitals, troop ships, or at ports of embarkation. 
A "Chaplain Pool" was maintained for a time in connection with the 
Chaplain School. The rapid expansion of units made orderly assignment 
a difficult task and the "pool" was one way of having a supply of chap- 
lains somewhere to draw upon. 100 were authorized, without considera- 
tion of grade."^ 

One chaplain wrote that he still felt green in a red, white, and blue 
Army."' This characterized the feelings of many men as they went 
through that difficult adjustment process from civilian to soldier known 
as basic training. Chapel attendance in basic was often mandatory in 
practice, if not by regulation, unless chaplains who resented a "captive" 
audience worked out some other arrangement with the commander. Char- 
acter Guidance lectures were mandatory training rather than worship 
services, and it was in this connection that a popular impression was 
given many churchmen that "all the chaplains do in the Army is give VD 
talks." The commander often considered the subject a responsibility 
shared by chaplains and surgeons. Percy Hickcox said, "It is the province 
of the chaplain to approach the subject from a moral and religous view- 
point. During training days all troops are addressed in sessions presided 
over by three officers — one of the line, the unit surgeon and the chap- 
lain." "^ Some chaplains felt real qualms about telling men to remain 
chaste just before a medical officer gave instructions on how to protect 
one's self against venereal disease. The training day was long and hard, 
the approach deadly serious, even grim. A popular sign read : "The more 
we sweat in training the less we bleed in combat." Chaplains reported 
that their most time-consuming task came at the end of the training day, 
when GIs lined up for counseling until late at night. Correspondence 
with mothers, fathers, wives and girl friends was a significant aspect of 
their ministry; public relations became a concern of the Chief, and a 
daily routine for the chaplains of basic training units. The press clamored 
for stories and photographs of how the spiritual needs of soldiers were 
met in the daily activities of chaplains. The young soldiers, from diverse 
backgrounds, unaccompanied by dependents who trained at a given sta- 
tion only a'few weeks, and faced an uncertain future, were of special con- 
cern to the public who referred to them as "our boys." The adjustments 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


of older men were as difficult, but not as sympathetically perceived. These 
factors affected the kind of ministry chaplains performed. Steve P. 
Gaskins, Jr., said his sermons differed from those he had preached as a 
civilian pastor. 

Because I was in a different situation I tried to direct my sermons 
to the point of need of men who were preparing to face death, who 
were moving on to face crucial stiuations at rather young and tender 
ages. It would have been criminal to preach sermons I had preached to 
wheat farmers out in Western Oklahoma who had seldom faced a crisis 
bigger than the success or failure of their annual wheat crop."^ 

Other chaplains commented on relevance and brevity as character- 
istic of their preaching and counseling. The Army tended to discourage 
marriages in this period ; earlier regulations forbade marriage for enlisted 
men in the first three grades and considered it a bar to reenlistment. 
During the war the soldier needed his commander's permission to marry; 
the uncertainty of the couple's future, confronted by a probable long 
separation, plus immaturity, hasty courtships, differences in religious 
background, lack of parental consent (and sometimes knowledge) , made 
the paper work drag along, unless pregnancy was involved. One chap- 
lain handled the situation with humor by posting the photograph of a 
beautiful movie star on the bulletin board with the caption "Unless the 
girl you want to marry is as good looking as this, don't see me." "° 

Chaplains in reception centers and basic training outfits were impor- 
tant in that they created first impressions of the chaplaincy for millions of 
service men and women. "Tell it to the chaplain" became a familiar 
phrase, and while said in jest, it reflected the accessibility of the clergy 
in khaki. Chaplains went through infiltration courses, gas mask drills, 
road marches; they frequented mess halls and made themselves visible 
at training sites, rifle ranges, and bivouac areas. Chaplain Calvert L. 
Kelly had a morale-boosting stunt he used regularly on long road marches. 
After nineteen miles of marching with full equipment, while everyone 
was exhausted and taking a break, Kelly got up, danced a jig, and asked 
if anyone was tired. "^ 

Robert A. Martin, a Southern Presbyterian, reported a specialized 
ministry at a "Work or Fight Camp" at Camp Ellis, Illinois. There were 
approximately fifteen thousand men in the camp, with only three chap- 
lains. Ninety-five percent of the men were below the medical qualifica- 
tions for entrance into the Army. "There were men with every physical 
defect possible for man: . . . nearly blind, entirely deaf; men with with- 
ered limbs, broken backs, . . . and psychos by the hundreds." Martin 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

124 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

ministered to about five thousand men with less than a fourth grade 
education. "This camp was a stain upon the United States Government 
which allowed local draft boards to enlist men of such low physical 
condition." It remained open for only about six months, when pressure 
from the camp and the families of the men finally forced local boards 
to be more careful in their selections.^'' 

Demonstrations of religious tolerance were seen as men of diverse 
backgrounds entered the service in large numbers. At Camp Robinson, 
Little Rock, Arkansas, a group of Jewish soldiers presented an unusual 
petition to the commanding officer; they requested duty during the 
Christmas holidays (1941) to permit more Catholic and Protestant sol- 
diers to spend time with their families. Their example spread to other 
posts. At Fort Dix, New Jersey, Chaplain William T. Brundick said to 
Jewish soldiers: 

Protestant and Catholic soldiers at Fort Dix are touched by the 
news that hundreds of Jewish soldiers here have voluntarily decided not 
to ask for Christmas furloughs in order to make it possible for a maxi- 
mum number of Protestants and Catholics to be with their families 
on Christmas. Our sincere thanks to you.*'"' 

Thomas E. Foster, a Catholic chaplain at Amarillo Army Air Field, 
was to take twenty of his men to the Cathedral at Amarillo to receive 
confirmation. "Unfortunately at the last minute, I could not go, so two 
Protestant chaplains took the boys in to the cathedral, stayed for the 
entire ceremony, and brought them back in time for the next military 
formation.""* The Chief said, "This war is a different war." The aim 
of the enemy "is not the mere capture of land or material possessions, 
but the utter destruction of that spiritual wealth upon which the nations 
of democracy are founded." "'^ Chaplains and their congregations re- 
sponded with an outpouring of ecumenism and tolerance that strength- 
ened the spiritual wealth of America. Similar stories of interfaith coop- 
eration occurred throughout the war. 

Robert B. Chapman commented on the variety of tasks that come 
to chaplains in their extended ministry. "But anyone (and there are a lot 
of officers in the Army who fall into this class) who doesn't understand 
the chaplain's job will probably come to the conclusion that the chaplain 
is just an old busybody who is trying to make life as miserable and unhappy 
as possible for all those who have authority." ^^^ But, leaves, furloughs, 
allotments, promotions ; clashes with the top kick, KP duty, special details, 
supposed abuses by the commanding officer, or the medical department ; 
failure to get a PX ration card, loans. Red Cross assistance — all such 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


problems, along with almost anything else one could think of that would 
disturb a soldier's peace of mind and his ability to concentrate and train, 
found their way into the chaplain's office. And in the soldier's mind it 
was the chaplain who would hear his gripes and troubles and try to do 
something to help both the abused and the abuser. 

The chaplains often "filled in" where entertainment, recreation, 
and sports facilities and personnel were lacking. They showed movies; 
made recreation facilities available ; set up rooms with writing tables and 
stationery, games, ping pong tables; in some cases they worked with 
local churches, Red Cross, YMCA, Special Services, USO, and other 
civilian patriotic, civic, and religious organizations to put on clean camp 
shows and chaperoned dances. Sometimes chaplains were asked to do 
these things but often they voluntarily took on such responsibilities as 
an additional way of meeting and serving the personnel of the com- 
mand."' The style of ministry depended on the individual and his view 
of himself, his role in the military, and the situation in which he found 

One chaplain wrote in his monthly report, "On maneuvers I have 
used every opportunity available for getting acquainted with men and 
making myself useful as occasion offered, cashing checks, securing money 
orders, sending mail, procuring candy and cigarettes for men etc." And 
in another report he wrote, "I make myself available for errands." "^ 

Gaskins wrote, "As long as members of my command were aware 
of the seriousness with which I took my ministerial station and as long 
as I evidenced personal integrity they wanted me to be the best minister 
possible." ''' 

Chief of Chaplains William R. Arnold wrote: 

If I were writing letters to the families back home, the one thing I 
would like to tell them is this — as far as religion goes — a boy is just as 
safe in the Army as at home. You know they say the devil finds things for 
idle hands to do. Well, the devil is out of luck in an Army camp. Hands, 
feet and head are pretty busy from reveille to taps.^"° 

What was true for the soldier was true for the chaplain. Most were 
so busy as clergymen that other duties were not required of them. 
Chaplain Arnold was so concerned about protecting his chaplains from 
secular duties that the monthly report form was changed to specifically 
address additional duties that were performed. As these reports traveled 
up the chain of command to higher headquarters, commanders got the 
message ; and chaplains were encouraged to be clergymen in uniform with 
pastoral responsibilities as their duty.^^^ 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

126 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

One of the most unusual specialized ministries was assignment to a 
troop transport. In the period of the twenties and thirties chaplains often 
rode transports to the Phihppines on a hit-or-miss basis as overseas 
replacements. On 30 July 1929 two chaplains were assigned to perma- 
nent duty riding transports. (Since there were five transports and only 
two chaplains, as the Chief's annual report said, "the system is not per- 
fect." '"" For the duration of World War II many chaplains found them- 
selves permanently assigned to transports. 

Emmet G. Jones must have felt more like a Navy man than an Army 
chaplain. He was on one of the last ships out of the Philippines in 1942 
and spent the entire war on Army transports; he made 1 10 ocean cross- 
ings, including the invasion of North Africa. (He qualified as a glider- 
man in 1947, perhaps to gain wider experience in modes of travel.) 
His service may have set a record.^"^ One chaplain was proud of his 
accomplishment on a single crossing. John O. Fisher, a Unitarian, 
reported : 

"In convoy to England in 1944, with six other chaplains aboard (all 
Protestant) I held 15 Catholic services and 3 Jewish services by myself, 
while assisting at two of the three Protestant services held. For two days 
I was the only chaplain to report for duty. All others, including the trans- 
port chaplain, were seasick." ^^* 

Interfaith cooperation on transports was the rule rather than the 
exception. Vernon P. Jaeger found himself the only chaplain on his trans- 
port and served all personnel. He wrote that "An insufficient number of 
Jewish men aboard to form a minyan developed an agreement that some 
Roman Catholic fellows offered to be a part of the service, providing 
the Jewish men would join them for the Rosary Benediction." ^^^ 

Chaplain Howard Benninghoff, a Christian Scientist, rode the S.S. 
Marine Tiger and commented on what it was like to live with 2,500 
men aboard a ship four hundred and seventy feet long, fifty feet wide, 
and three decks deep for three to eight weeks at a time, with the tem- 
perature holding around ninety-five degrees Fahrenheit when in the 
South Pacific. All manner of problems developed — everything from re- 
quests for a certain record over the public address system to complaints 
about the food; from worries concerning loved ones at home to fears 
about forthcoming combat experiences — and were brought to the chap- 
lain's office. Benninghoff reported that some days as many as three hun- 
dred men dropped by his office. "There was little time to talk religion 
as such, but living it in thought and deed as you answered the hundreds 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


of requests gave more spiritual conviction than hours of theological argu- 
ment could have afforded." ^'^ 

A chaplain on one transport had the Chaplain's Flag hoisted during 
the service and used the loudspeaker of the ship. A destroyer drew along- 
side and held that position, with the men on both vessels listening to the 

Special Service officers were assigned to transports late in the war; 
until then, the ships were one place where Army chaplains were not 
excluded from secular duties. Army Regulations 30-1155 and 55-355 
specifically assigned them duties in the area of recreation and entertain- 
ment. One chaplain arranged microphones so men could participate 
in an amateur show without being at its location aboard ship; orchestras 
and athletic events — especially boxing matches — were organized; mov- 
ing pictures, shipboard newspapers, and food treats were popular diver- 
sions. Lectures on the country to which the troops were going produced 
interested audiences. Former teachers were pressed into service to teach 
foreign language classes, history, geography, and remedial classes in 
English and mathematics. In nearly all of their efforts chaplains re- 
ported good command support. One officer said to his chaplain: "I am 
your commanding officer; you are the chaplain of this ship. Whatever 
you do, though it be right or wrong, I will back you up 100 percent; 
and if you are wrong, I will deal with you individually later." ^^^ 

The Four Chaplains 

The most famous World War II event in the history of the Army 
chaplaincy occurred aboard a troop transport, the SS Dorchester. One 
tribute said : 

Thousands of uncounted deeds of devotion and gallantr^^ by chap- 
lains are recorded only in the annals of eternity. But others, like the self- 
sacrifice of four Army Chaplains on the sinking transport Dorchester, 
have become classics in the folklore of America. Clark Poling, one of the 
four, had written a letter to his father long before the Dorchester went 
down. In the letter he made the request: "I know I shall have your 
prayers, but please don't pray simply that God will keep me safe. War is 
dangerous business. Pray that God will make me adequate!" ^^^ He and 
the other chaplains involved were, indeed, adequate. 

A memorandum from the Chief of Naval Operations stated: "The 
ship Dorchester was an Army transport of 5,252 tons with 751 Army 
passengers and 1,000 tons of cargo embarked. She was manned by a 
merchant marine crew of 130 men, although there was on board a Navy 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

128 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

Armed Guard of 23 men. Dorchester in Company of two merchant 
ships, Biscaya and Lutz, under the escort of USCG cutters Tampa, 
Esconaba, and Comanche, was enroute from St. John's Newfoundland 
to Greenland. She was hit by one torpedo from U-456 at 0358, February 
3, 1943, and sank rapidly by the bow." "" 

The ship sank in twenty minutes, in the dark, in near freezing air 
and water temperatures. Of the 904 men on board, 678 were finally 
reported "lost in action." Among them were four Army chaplains, all 
First Lieutenants: Clark V. Poling and George Fox, Protestants; John P. 
Washington, Catholic; and Alexander D. Goode, a Jew.'" 

Clark Poling's father, Dr. Daniel Poling, a prominent churchman and 
editor of The Christian Herald, told of being ". . . in a hotel just off 
Grosvenor Square in London when the nine o'clock BBC newscast 
blared the story of a transport torpedoed and a few survivors picked 
up . . . but briefly the announcer told of four chaplains of three faiths 
who heroically did their duty, gave their own lifebelts to enlisted men, 
and then praying together went down with the ship." ''" 

Within days the story began to emerge. Chaplains Edward J. 
Saunders and William S. Bowdern interviewed the helmsman of the 
Dorchester in St. John's Newfoundland and forwarded their report to 
the Chief of Chaplains."' 

Chaplain Herman H. Heuer, who worked in the Office of the Chief 
of Chaplains, stated that the message landed on his desk "and I was 
instructed to 'make a big thing of it.' " '^* But the American public made 
a big thing of it, for the story of the immortal four captured the imagina- 
tion of the nation and became the most famous and commemorated 
incident involving chaplains in all of World War IL 

There was some delay in the release of facts due to bureaucratic 
thoroughness and a reluctance to change the status of those "missing in 
action and presumed dead," to "lost in action." A form letter requesting 
clarification and enlightenment surrounding the deaths of the chaplains 
was sent to the 226 survivors. Their responses are in the National 
Archives in Washington, D.C.'^' 

Forty persons, under oath, revealed facts greater than the legend; 
they told of the round-the-clock ministry of faithful shepherds who visited 
the sick, led worship, and sang with the men aboard ship in informal 
gatherings before the fateful night. 

They also told how "with utter disregard of self, having given away 
their life jackets to four men without them, the chaplains stood hand in 
hand, praying to the God they served for the safety of those men who were 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 



leaving the stricken ship on all sides of them. This is the picture engraved 
in our minds and hearts as the SS Dorchester disappeared beneath the 
waves." "° 

Many survivors told of how the chaplains quieted the panic of men 
frozen by fear at the ship's rail, w^hom the chaplains forced into boats 
and life jackets. They told of how they prayed with the men and spoke 
words of encouragement. Several saw them hand out life belts from a 
box; when those were exhausted, they took off their own and put them 
on enlisted men. They helped rig rafts out of timbers, cork, and other 
materials at hand. They were credited with saving many lives. One sur- 
vivor, Richard McHale, said, "The sound of men in panic is worse than 
any woman's screams . . . hearing some calling for their mothers . . . 
it was awful." ^^' The chaplains convinced many to at least leave the 
ship, that there was a chance for rescue over the side. 

Exposure to the cold killed many, and those lightly clad suffered 
most. One witness saw Chaplain Goode give his gloves to another man. 
After spending eight hours awash in a crowded lifeboat he was rescued. 
"Without the chaplain's gloves," he said, "my fingers would have frozen 
stiff. I would never have made it. As it was, only two of us survived of 
the 40 who were on the boat. I owed my life to the chaplain ^vho gave 
me those gloves." "^ 

Those acts of heroism caught the imagination of Americans. The 
interfaith cooperation of the chaplains set an example for people pulling 
together for the defeat of common enemy. On 19 December 1944 the 
Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart were awarded post- 
humously to the next of kin by Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell, Command- 
ing General of the Army Service Forces, in a ceremony at the post chapel 
at Fort Myer, Virginia. Many honors followed; they included a com- 
memorative stamp by the U.S. Post Office; an interfaith chapel at the 
Baptist Temple in Philadelphia; a painting by Dudley Summers, owned 
and displayed by the New York City Headquarters of the National Con- 
ference on Christians and Jews ; a therapeutic pool for disabled veterans 
at the Bronx Veterans Hospital, New York City; "a Living Memorial of 
Good Books" at the York County, Pennsylvania, Library; an annual 
award by B'nai Brith in the four chaplains' memory; a memorial pool in 
one cemetery, and a 12 foot high statue of the Four Chaplains in another. 
Many books have told the story in detail."'' 

On 18 January 1961 a posthumous Special Medal for Heroism never 
before given and never to be given again, was authorized by Congress and 
awarded by the President. Congress wished to confer The Medal of Honor 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

130 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

upon the four, but was blocked by the stringent requirements for that 
award which included heroism performed under fire. The special medal 
was intended to have the same weight and importance as its more famous 
counterpart, the Medal of Honor."" 

A further footnote to history was supplied by Rabbi David Max 
Eichhorn, who was with Chaplain Goode and Chaplain James M. Liston, 
a Catholic, at Camp Miles Standish in Massachusetts. "I shared a chapel 
at Camp Croft, Spartanburg, South Carolina, with Father James M. 
Liston and we became very good friends. Like Alex Goode and myself, 
Jimmy Liston loved to play pinochle." 

I was at the Army Chaplain School, Harvard LTniversity, Cam- 
bridge, Massachusetts, in December 1942. One evening during that 
month, Alex and Jimmy came in to Cambridge from the Boston POE 
to visit me. We had dinner together and then spent several hours playing 
our favorite card game. Both Alex and Jimmy had a premonition that 
the ships carrying them to their respective o\erseas destinations were not 
going to make it. Jimmy told me that he had contributed $50 to a Boston 
church for masses to be said for the repose of his soul if he should be 
lost at sea. 

On the February night that the Dorchester, bound for Greenland, 
went down with its four chaplains, another ship bound for Iceland and 
with the same convoy was torpedoed and sank. Chaplain James M. 
Liston was on that other ship and went down with it. 

I am very glad to have this opportunity to let it be known that not 
four but five heroic chaplains died for God and country in the cold 
waters of the North Atlantic on the night that the Dorchester went 

The Growing Clarity of Role and Status 

One of the greatest contributions to the status of the chaplain was 
the attitude of his commanding officer. An equally important factor was 
the chaplain's own perception of his role In the military. "Never before 
had such an appreciation of the chaplain's mission developed as in World 
War II," wrote Chaplain Daniel B. Jorgensen."^ Partly this appreciation 
was due to the excellent work done by chaplains between the wars, partly 
to regulations and directives, and partly to the spirit of leaders like Mar- 
shall, Eisenhower, MacArthur, Spaatz and Arnold. The top brass spoke 
of the war in spiritual terms, as a conflict of the forces of good and evil, 
light and darkness. Eisenhower said : 

The Allied soldier sees himself as a defender of those great precepts 
of humanitarianism preached by Christ and exemplified in the way of 
life for which all true democracies stand. He sees this conflict as a war 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


between greed and selfishness and love of power today typified in Nazism, 
Fascism and Shintoism."^ 

General Marshall expressed his concern for the work of the chaplain 
when he said : 

The same care has been displayed in the selection of chaplains that 
we exercise in the selection of troop leaders, and what is equally impor- 
tant, we are directing the same energetic supervision to the coordination 
and direction of the work of these chaplains as we give to the direction 
of the work of our tactical commanders. . . .^** 

A letter to the Commanding Generals of all Air Forces in 1942 
stated: "The Commanding General, Army Air Forces, is most anxious 
that all commanders recognize, accept and discharge completely their 
responsibilities for the moral and spiritual welfare of their officers and 
men." "^ It was said that those things get done that the boss checked on, 
and was interested in. After an inspection tour Major General E. S. Adams 
wrote: "All commanding oflficers I interviewed spoke highly of their 
chaplains and all chaplains were most enthusiastic in their praise for the 
fine spirit and cooperation they were receiving from those in authority." 
Chaplain Gynther Storaasli wrote in July 1941 : 

It's a tough blow to us old timers to have to sit at desks in these 
days and note, not without a tinge of envy, the marvelous response 
the younger chaplains in the field are receiving from ever\'one in and out 
of service. ... It thrills even this old heart of mine to read the letters 
from chaplains . . . with nary a word of complaint about lack of 

In those instances where chaplains failed to receive cooperation it 
seemed that -the problem was caused by commanders who believed in a 
get tough, no coddling, policy which emphasized the mission of combat 
arms to the exclusion of all other considerations. Some West Point grad- 
uates who had suffered through four years of compulsory chapel made it 
clear by their conspicuous lack of participation in worship that they "had 
enough." Sometimes the commander's faith was different from his chap- 
lain's and caused friction. On the other hand, chaplains who failed to 
serve adequately either because of their immaturity, narrow sectarianism, 
or moral instability could and did prejudice any commander under whom 
they served. 

One of the commonly expressed fears of clergymen was that chap- 
lains would be told what to preach ; that the traditional freedom of the 
pulpit would be compromised in the military service. Chaplain Aryeh Lev, 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

132 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

in a booklet What Chaplains Preach presented a collection of sermon 
ideas from many chaplains, and commented : 

What should the chaplain preach? He should preach religion! The 
chaplain is his own judge as to what that is and how it should be 
preached. No one can tell him what to say and what not to say. . . . Every 
chaplain takes an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the United 
States when he receives his commission and as long as he fulfills that 
pledge he is at perfect liberty to preach that which his religious training 
has taught him to say.^'" 

The chaplain had a non-combatant status. This created some prob- 
lems and raised certain quesrions. Should a chaplain take part in training 
exercises such as small-arms firing or go on combat flying missions? In 
both cases the answer from the Chief's office was "no." The Judge Advo- 
cate General said : 

If a member of the medical department or a chaplain should . . . use 
against the enemy arms ... he would not only forfeit the protection to 
which he is normally entitled, but would commit a war crime for which 
he might lawfully be tried by the enemy and upon conviction be pun- 
ished, even with death. ^^® 

There is no record that the noncombatant status of the chaplain was 
seriously compromised during the war. (Toward the end of the war many 
chaplains "took prisoners" but as the record was examined these were 
flukes, and the chaplains were armed only with fountain pens, and were 
often more frightened than their prisoners. ) 

In the commander's view of the chaplain no role was more important 
than that of counselor. Whether conducted in an informal setting as the 
chaplain visited about the post, in the more formalized setting of an office, 
or in the hospital or stockade, the chaplain was sought for counsel by 
enlisted men and officers for a great variety of problems. The Chief of 
Chaplains repeatedly emphasized the responsibilities of chaplains in pro- 
tecting the sacred relationship of the confession or the privileged commu- 
nication made to a chaplain in counseling. He could not be called as a 
witness in a court-martial to divulge what he learned through counseling 
except with permission of the person involved. This confidential rela- 
tionship encouraged men to bring "military problems" to the chaplain 
because they knew they would not be punished or disciplined. It encour- 
aged them to bring their intimate personal problems because they could be 
assured of privacy. In some respects a chaplain served as an arbitrator 
between officer and enlisted men. 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


Jorgensen pointed out that the counsehng situation was one place 
where attention was paid to the individual. Because of the size of the 
Army, the tremendous organization of manpower and programs neces- 
sary to the prosecution of the war, the channels of communication, the 
demands of time, and the impersonality with which men may be ordered 
to their deaths, the individual was often lost in the machinery. In the 
chaplain he could find a confidant no matter what his rank, organization 
or problem. 

The counseling load was very heavy. Chaplain William J. Clasby at 
Santa Ana Army Air Base reported that chaplains there conducted 1,500 
to 2,000 interviews and conferences each month, and he personally had 
interviewed some 8,000 persons from March to December 1942. A study 
made in 1943 by the Army Special Services Division revealed that next to 
the commanding officer a far greater proportion of men went to see the 
chaplain than any other officer. In 1942 there was an average of 53 per- 
sonal conferences a day for each chaplain in the Army. Another survey 
revealed that in the United States, 1 2 percent of all Army personnel con- 
sulted a chaplain in the course of a one-year period, and overseas 25 per- 
cent of the men had been counseled each year.^^'' 

Personal and family problems accounted for the largest number of 
consultations. Homesickness, suicidal feeling, marriage, alcohol, sickness 
at home — the whole range of human experience came before the chaplain 
— but none were more distressing than those over which the serviceman 
felt he had no control. Particularly difficut were the "Dear John" letters, 
in which a wife or fiancee would announce, that she had fallen in love 
with someone else. Chaplain Gilbert Johnstone in New Guinea wrote a 
letter to the editor of the Chicago Daily News which appeared on page 
one under the title, "Cheating War Wives." The scorching letter touched 
off a flurry of pro and con arguments by judges, social workers, clergy- 
men, and service wives across the nation. On the other hand chaplains re- 
ceived thousands of letters from anxious families distressed about prob- 
lems concerning their husbands, brothers, sisters, daughters and sons. 
Very often when the soldier failed to write home, the chaplain got a letter 
asking him to look in on "Johnny," and this visit usually produced cor- 
respondence headed home. 

Military problems, those concerned with adjustment to the military 
situation itself, was the second largest group. Chaplain Graeser wrote 
from Scott Field, words that could have come from any Chaplain any- 
where : 

Many of the men coming to this Post had been promised by the 
recruiting officer . . . that they would get to be fliers within six weeks 
or two months. . . . However when they get here, and find that they 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

246-684 O - 78 - 10 

134 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

don't get within gunshot of a plane . . . but instead mow lawns, police 
up about the garrison . . . they feel they have been imposed upon. . . .^^° 

Chaplains often used some unusual counseling techniques not found 
in books. In one case Chaplain Joseph D. Andrew discovered that an 
unhappy private was failing in his ambition to become a military police- 
man because he couldn't ride a motorcycle. The chaplain a motorcyclist 
himself, went with him to a quiet road for a ride, diagnosed the difficulty, 
and helped him qualify. 

The third largest number of interviews concerned religious prob- 
lems. Chaplain James L. Blakeney told of one pilot in a tough spot 
who suddenly realized he didn't know how to pray. So, he simply kept 
repeating, "God help me; God help me; God help me . . ." until he fought 
his way out of enemy territory. When he reached home base he immedi- 
ately sought the chaplain and said, "Look, Padre, I haven't much time, 
but can't you give me some quick pointers on praying? Boy, do I need it 
up there." Not all requests for religious guidance were as dramatic as 
this, but many a man facing the tensions and grim realities of total war 
found his own resources inadequate and turned to God for strength. 

Another type of problem which caused some concern, and involved 
chaplains in unusual ways, had to do with problems of a moral nature. 
One chaplain found a package at his door containing $1,555. On it 

was a note which said, "This money belongs to the party living at 

Street, Tampa, Fla. I have faith in the chaplain enough to know that it 
will be returned to the proper owner. Sorry the whole incident happened." 
The anonymous soldier had stolen the money, but he trusted the chaplain 
to return it.^^^ Stolen government property, and private property often 
found its way to the chaplain's office, on a "no questions asked" basis. At 
times a chaplain was not a passive receiver, but took the direct approach 
in reprimanding a soldier who had done the wrong thing. One private, 
after an interview with Chaplain Martin W. Baumgartner, remarked, 
"I would rather be busted to 21 dollars a month than have that chaplain 
give me another going over." However, he became a good friend of the 
chaplain and a regular chapel attendant.'^^ 

Perhaps because the volume of counseling was so heavy there grew 
up a real concern to raise the standards of the counseling men received. 
Giving advice was rooted in antiquity, but counseling on a professional 
level was a more recent development for clergy, and the skill level varied 
tremendously among chaplains. The Air Chaplain in September 1943, 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


One of the weaknesses of chaplains in the Air Forces is the fact that 
their personal interviews with the troops have not been as successful 
as . . . desired. For that reason a program for training of chaplains in 
counseling is considered advisable. 

A conference was held between the Chief of Chaplains and Dr. 
Otis Rice of the Federal Council of Churches to set up a test counseling 
seminar at Drew Field, Florida. The seminar proved to be a success. 
Chaplain Theodore T. Leen gave a series of lectures on counseling and 
led discussions in which chaplains were urged to share their experiences 
without revealing confidential information. 

A series of one day counseling seminars was sponsored by the YMCA- 
USO for chaplains, civilian clergymen near military installations, and 
USO officials. Names that would later become household words among 
pastoral counselors provided leadership in 80 to 100 seminars through- 
out the United States. Dr. Russel Dicks of Dallas, Texas, Dr. David 
Eitzen of the University of Southern California, Dr. Charles T. Hol- 
man of the University of Chicago, Dr. Carroll Weise, and Dr. Otis Rice 
provided leadership under the direction of Dr. Marion T. Creeger, and 
Dr. Seward Hiltner. The importance of counseling was also reflected 
in expanded instruction at the Chaplain School, and many chaplains did 
graduate work in this field after the war. Chaplain Joseph L. Shuler said: 

The chaplain is the doctor of soul sickness just as the physicians and 
surgeons are doctors of the wounds of battle and disease. To the chaplain 
men go freely with the most intimate problems of their lives. The chap- 
lain is their friend, their counselor and their companion — ready to listen 
to their troubles and to help them solve them.^^^ 

In a speech to officers, General A. R. Boiling Jr. stated that there are 
three ways the commander can affect the outcome of a battle once it 
has begun: 1. Shift the fires. 2. Commit the reserves. 3. Be there. 

The "Be there" school of leadership is cognizant of a factor that 
chaplains learned — there is a ministry in simply being present in the 
training areas, break areas, ranges, and billets. It would be erroneous to 
believe that chaplains sat in their offices waiting for the men to be sent 
to them. They visited their men wherever they were. Chaplain Williston 
Wirt said : 

Where many a lad is hesitant about taking his troubles to a chaplain, 
in most instances he will eagerly respond to an inquiry about his progress 
in flying. . . . Then often it comes out — the problem over which he has 
been brooding: 'By the way, chaplain, there was something I had in- 
tended to speak to you about.' ^^* 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

136 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

Visitation was viewed by many chaplains as pre-counseling. Others 
considered it a form of witnessing, of showing the cross or tablets. 
Whatever the chaplain's motives or interpretations, his presence among 
the troops was considered so essential to his ministry that the Chief of 
Chaplains directed that a chaplain should spend at least fifty percent of 
his time out of the office and among the men. 


^Maurice Matloff, American Military History (Washington, D.C. : Office of the Chief of 
Military History, United States Army, 1969), p. 417; and William Manchester, The Glory and 
the Dream, Volume one, (Boston: Little, Brown and Company 1973, 1974), p. 246. 

■Ibid., p. 244. 

^Ibid., p. 244. 

*Ibid., p. 276. 

^ Ibid., p. 245 ; and Matloff, American Military History, p. 418. 

"Ibid., p. 419. 

'Ibid., p. 420. 

Ubid., p. 421-422. 

^Ibid., p. 422. 

" Matthew 16:3, Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version. ■ 

" Manchester, The Glory and the Dream, p. 267. 

"^Ibid., p. 271. 

" Bodies But No Souls, America, Vol. LXV, No. 20, 23 August 1941, p. 546. 

" Hagiography, America, Vol. LXVII, No. 8, 2 December 1939, p. 4. 

'■"Paul L. Blakely, The Old War Propaganda and the Stream Line Model, America, Vol. 
LXn, 14 0ctober 1939,p. 5. 

^''Harold Gardiner, If Hatred Is Funny The Comics Will Kill You, America, Vol. LXV, 
No. 19, 16 August 1941, p. 516. 

" John A. Toomey, We Are Not Swayed by War Propaganda, America, Vol. LXV, No. 20, 
23 Aug 1941, p. 542. 

"Carrying The War Into The Pulpit, The Christian Advocate, Vol. 116, No. 51, 18 
December 1941, p. 1622. 

"War Camp Towns Face Responsibility, The Christian Advocate, Vol. 116, No. 1, 2 Jan- 
uary 1941, p. 5. 

-"The Soldier's Game, The Christian Advocate, Vol. 116, No. 2, 9 January 1941, p. 49. 

^ One Million From Eight Million, The Christian Advocate, Vol. 116, No. 3, 16 January 
1941, p. 81. 

~ Bernhard Ragner, The Fall of France, The Christian Advocate, Vol. 116, No. 26, 26 June 
1941, p. 830. 

"^ Paul L. Blakely, Civilians Can Help Keep The Army Clean, America, Vol. LXV, No. 20, 
23 August 1941, p. 541. 

'"Does This Make Sense? The Christian Advocate, Vol. 116, No. 1, 2 January 1941, p. 5. 

^Sydney E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of The American People (New Haven: Yale 
University Press, 1972), p. 950. 

^One Million From Eight Million, The Christian Adovcate, Vol. 116, No. 3, 16 January 
1941, p. 81. 

-' Reinhold Niebuhr, The Christian Faith and the World Crisis, Christianity In Crisis, Vol. 1, 
No. 1, 10 February 1941, p. 6. 

^^Christianity In Crisis, Vol. 1, No. 1, 10 February 1941, p. 8; Vol. 1, No. 17, 6 October 
1941,p. 8; Vol. l,No. 18, 20 October 1941, p. 1. 

™ Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People, p. 949. 


""Ibid., p. 949. 

^^ Gilbert M. Grosvenor, IVe Americans, A Volume In The Story of Man Library (Wash- 
ington, D.C.: The National Geographic Society, 1975), p. 406. 

^Daniel B. Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946 (Washing- 
ton, D.C. : Office, Chief of Air Force Chaplains, 1961 ), p. 96. 

""Ibid., p. 96. 

''Ibid., p. 146. 

^Roy J. Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army (Washington, D.C: Office of 
the Chief of Chaplains, Department of the Army, 1958), p. 214. 

^'^ Louis J. Barish, Rabbis In Uniform (New York: Nathan David Publishers, 1962), p. 1 1 j 
and Rabbi To Serve In Army, New York Times, 17 July 1940, p. 8:6. 

"Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 91. 

"^Ibid., p. 91. 

'^Ibid., p. 92-93. 

" Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 222. 

''Ibid., p. 217. 

^ Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 90. 

''Ibid., p. 87. 

■" Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 218. 

'^Ibid., p. 218-223. 

** Manchester, The Glory and the Dream, p. 285. 

*' The figures listed in the text are from Matloff, American Military History, p. 423-424, 
and are conservative figures. Jorgensen lists losses at: AAF, 152 of 231 planes in Hawaii, Navy, 
87 of 169 planes, and 6,000 casualties; Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains To Army Air Units 

** Grosvenor, We Americans, p. 406. 

*" Manchester, The Glory And The Dream, p. 317. 

^"Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains To Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 84. 

" Ibid., p. 84-85. 

"Harry P. Richmond, A Rabbi Recalls Pearl Harbor, Opinion, Vol. XIII, No. 12, October 
1943, p. 24. 

'"Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 214. Also, The Story of the Services 
of Supply, The Office Of The Chief Of Chaplains, 30 June 1940 to date. Files of USACHCS, 
Historical Office, Ft. Wadsworth, Si, NY, 1 December 1942, p. 9. Jorgensen states the total as 
1,487 in The Service of Chaplains To Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 86. 

^* Brief Historical Sketch, The Army and Navy Chaplain Vol. VIII, No. 3, January 1938, 
p. 82. Grady, however, has Arnold born in Indiana: Patricia Grady, The Chief of Chaplains, 
U.S.A., The Army and Navy Chaplain, Vol. XIII, No. 4, April-May 1943, p. 13. 

^Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p 87. 

=* Grady, The Chief of Chaplains, U.S.A., p. 13. Also: Honeywell, Chaplains of the United 
States Army, p. 201. And: New Chief of Chaplains, The Army Chaplain, Vol. VIII, No. 2, 
October 1937, p. 42. 

^ Grady, The Chief of Chaplains, U.S.A., p. 13. 

^' The Christian Science Publishing Society, The Story of Christian Science Wartime Activi- 
ties 1939-1946, (Boston, Mass.: The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1947), p. 167. 

^Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains To Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 87-89. 

*° William A. Arnold, We Are Strong In Spirit, The Country Gentleman, CXII, October 
1942, p. 10. 

^27 May 1941, Congress approved Brigadier General grade for Chief of Chaplains. Public 
Law 862, 78th Congress, 28 June 1944, approved two stars for the Chief, one star for the Deputy 
Chief. They were actually promoted on 7 December 1944. In a newsletter he reminded the corps 
that he was still to be addressed as chaplain not General. 

"'Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains To Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 88-89. Also: For- 
mer Chief Appointed Military Delegate; The Army and Navy Chaplain, Vol. XVI, No. 1, July- 
August 1945, p. 19. 

"^Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 90. 

" History of USACHCS, A Chronicle of the United States Army Chaplain School During 
the Second World War: The First Two Years, files of the Historical Office, USACHCS, Ft. Wads- 
worth, SI, NY, p. 1. 

138 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

'^ Ibid., p. 1. 

*° Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 243. 

" Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 112. 

^ Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 244. 

** Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 113. 

"' Honeywell, Chaplalins of the United States Army, p. 252. 

'^ History of USACHCS, A Chronicle of the United States Army Chaplain School During 
the Second World War: The First Two Years. 

'" Honeywill, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 250. 

''7fefrf.,p. 251. 


''^ ]. Fraser McLuskey, Parachute Padre, (London: Student Christian Movement Press, 

John G. Miller, Saints and Parachutes, (London: Constable Publishers, 1951 ). 

Francis L. Sampson, Paratrooper Padre, (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University 
Press, 1950.) And an updated version including Korea by the same author: Look Out Below 
Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University Press, 1958. 

H. F. Wade, Parachute Padre, Liguorian Pamphlets, Redemptorist Fathers, 1960. 

Donald R. Burgett, Currahee! , (Boston: Haughton Mifflen Company, 1967). 

■"' Alfred A. Crowell, Parachute Parson, Flying, Vol. 33 No. 6, December 1943 p. 43. 

"Richard G. Hutcheson, Jr., The Churches and the Chaplalincy (Atlanta: John Knox 
Press, 1975) p. 73. 

■'^Donald R. Burgett, Currahee! p. 42. 

™ Dorothy Freemont Grant, War Is My Parish, (Milwaukee, Wisconsin: The Bruce Publish- 
ing Company, 1944), p. 18. 

^ War Department, Bureau of Public Relations, publicity release, 20 March 1941 files of the 
Historical Office, USACHCS, Ft. Wad&worth, SI, New York. Also: Office of the Chief of 
Chaplains, The Army Builds a Chapel, 27 July 1941, files of the Historical Office, USACHCS, 
Ft. Wadsworth, SI, New York. 

^ La Voie Manor Chapel, January 1975. 

*- Scott Hart, Army Chiefs Open Little Chapel In the Orchard, The Washington Post, 
Washington, D.C., 28 July 1941. 

^ Ibid. 

^ Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 266. 

*■'' James H. Young prepared a questionnaire for former chaplains serving between 1920-1945. 
This questionnaire will be referred to as the United States Army Chaplain Center and School 
(USACHCS) questionnaire and is on file by name of the respondent at the Historical Office, 
USACHCS, Ft. Wadsworth, SI, New York. In this footnote, questionnaires in order are from: 

Kenneth Fristoe 

Gerhard L. Belgum 

Kenneth L. Ames 

John R. Himes 

^Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains To Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 180. Honeywell, 
Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 273. 

^ Ibid., p. 159. 

^ Bureau of Service to Military Personnel National Lutheran Council, By Their Side, 
(Washington D.C.: Bureau of Service to Military Personnel National Lutheran Council, 1947), 
p. 11. 

* Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplain To Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 242. By tradition 
the "good thief" on the cross was St. Dismas. His aide was invoked when chaplains stole food and 
medicine for their men who were prisoners. 

®°Dan T. Caldwell and B. L. Bowman, They Answered The Call, (Richmond, Virginia: 
John Knox Press, 1952), p. 52. 

°' Ellwood Cecil Nance, Faith of Our Fighters, (St. Louis: Bethany Press, 1944), p. 190. 

^^ Matloff, American Military History, p. 427. 

"'Ibid., p. 431-435. 

** Ibid., p. 438-440. 

*' Edward L.R. Elson, questionnaire 19 December 1974, Historical Office, USACHES, Ft. 
Wadsworth, SI, New York. 


""John Robert Himes, questionnaire 22 October 1974, Historical Office, USACHCS, Ft. 
Wadsworth, SI, New York. 

^ Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains To Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 85-86. 

"'Ibid., p. 85. 

^ Ibid., p. 85. 

^'* US Army Forces In the Pacific, History of Chaplain's Activities in the Pacific, Chaplains 
Section, GHQ, AFPAC, 1946. 

^"^ y^ayneDehoney, Disciples In Uniform, (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1967), p. 101. 

^°' The figures of chaplain prisoners, deaths, etc. vary slightly with different sources. Some 
authors count Army, Nav7 and Air Corps chaplains together as a total figure. Others refer only 
to Army and Army Air Corps chaplains. See: Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air 
Units 1917-1946, p. 280-281. Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 280. U.S. 
Army Forces In The Pacific, History of Chaplain Activities in the Pacific, table "Prisoners of 

^"Ubid. Jorgensen, The Service erf Chaplains To Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 280-281 
Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 280. 

^'^ John Anthony Wilson questionnairCj 29 November 1974 files of The Historical Office, 
USACHCS, Ft. Wadsworth, SI, New York. 

^"' Ibid. 

^*' Termed officially, "Reserve Pool of the Chief of Chaplains," it was established with the 
school at Ft. Benjamin Harrison on 20 February 1942. The Reserve Pool was formally consti- 
tuted "a chaplain Replacement Pool" on 23 February 1943, where it was co-located with the school 
at Harvard. The Commandant of the Chaplain School was the commanding officer of the pool. 
See: History of USACHCS, Letter, Adjutant General's Office, 23 February 1943, Historical 
Office, USACHCS. Also: The Story of the Services of Supply, The Office of the Chief of 
Chaplains, 30 June 1940 to date, 314.7, Historical Office, USACHCS. 

'^'" Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains To Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 126. 

"** Percy Hickcox, Mine Eyes Have Seen, (Boston, Mass. : The Mosher Press 1950) , p. 1 1. 

""^ Steve P. Gaskins, Jr., questionnaire, 12 December 1974, Historical Office, USACHCS, Ft. 
Wadsworth, SI, New York. 

^^'' Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 298. 

^"History of the Chaplain Section, 105th Evacuation Hospital, 31 March 1943 10 January 
1944, Box 214, Modern Military Section, The National Archives, Washington D.C. 

"' Caldwell and Bowman, They Answered the Call, p. 63. 

"' Comment, America, Vol. LXVI, Number 14 10 January 1942 p. 367. 

"'Dorothy Fremont Grant, War Is My Parish, (Milwaukee- Wisconsin: The Bruce Pub- 
lishing Company, 1 944 ) , p. 5 1 . 

'"^ William R. Arnold, We Are Strong In Spirit, The Country Gentleman, Vol. CXII, 
October 1942, p. 10. 

""Robert B. Chapman, Tell It to The Chaplain, (New York: Exposition Press, 1952), p. 37. 

"^ J. Gerard Mears, The Chaplains Swing Along with the Lads in the Camps, America, 
LXV, 16 August 1941, p. 515. 

"^Owen W. Kerr, War Department Chaplain Monthly Report Form No. 3, February 1943, 
Washington National Record Center, Suitland, Maryland. 

"* Gaskins, questionnaire, 12 December 1974. 

^° United States War Department, The Soldier and His Religion, Women's Interest Section, 
Bureau of Public Relations, (Washington D.C. : USWD, 1941, p. 1-2. 

™ Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 232, Jorgensen, The Service of 
Chaplains To Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 123-124. 

^" Extracts from the Annual Report of the Chief of Chaplains, The Army Chaplain, Vol. II, 
No. 3, January 1931, p. 7. 

^^ Emmet Gaylord Jones, questionnaire, 16 October 1974, Historical Office, USACHCS, Ft. 
Wadsworth, SI, New York. 

'=*John Ogden Fisher, questionnaire, 1 October 1974, Historical Office, USACHCS, Ft. 
Wadsworth, SI, New York. 

^^ Vernon Paul Jaeger, questionnaire, 13 September 1974, Historical Office, USACHCS, Ft. 
Wadsworth, SI, New York. 

^^The Story of Christian Science Wartime Activities 1939-1946, (Boston, Mass: The 
Christian Science Publishing Society, 1947), p. 174 175. 



^' Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 276. 

^"-^ Ibid., p. 302-304. 

^^ Methodist Commission, Chaplains of the Methodist Church in World War II. (Washing- 
ton, D.C.: Methodist Commission on Chaplains, 1948), p. 63. 

'=" Memorandum from Chief of Naval Operations, OP-09B ser: 3716P09B93 7 October 
1970, Box: Office Management Division, decimal file 200.6 affidavits re awards for the Four 
Chaplains, Modern Military Branch, National Archives, Washington, D.C. 

'=' Files of the Office of the Chief of Chaplains, Dec. 1944 "Four Chaplains," OCCH, 
Washington, D.C. 

"" Daniel A. Poling, "Faith is Power For You," "Four Chaplains" file. The Office of the 
Chief of Chaplains, Washington, D.C. 

^^ USACHCS questionnaire, Edward Joseph Saunders, 14 September 1974, Historical Office 
file, United States Army Chaplain Center and School, Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island, New York. 

"* Ibid., Herman Henry Heuer, USACHCS questionnaire. 

"- Affadavits re: Awards for the Four Chaplains, Box: Office Management Division, decimal 
file 200.6, Modern Military Branch. 

^^^ Ibid. Aflfadavit filed by Frank A. Benkler, Quartermaster, Merchant Marine Service, and 
signed by Fred Francis Bebler, Night Steward, and Juan L. Alejanaro, Gun Crew Messman. 

"'Richard McHale, The Courier News, Plainfield, New Jersey 19 July 1965, "Four 
Chaplains" file, Office of the Chief of Chaplains. 

"^ Louis J. Barish, Rabbis in Uniform, (New York: Jonathon David Publishers, 1962). 
p. 286. 

^^ Francis Beauchesne Thornton, Sea of Glory, (New York: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1953) . 

Chester J. Szymczak, When Time Stood Still, (Philadelphia: Dorrance, 1956). 

Joseph Chester, Dorchester; Greenlaiid Pioneer published privately, 2001 S. 16th Street, 
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1969. 

Daniel A. Poling, Your Daddy Did Not Die, (New York: Greenbert, 1944). 

^^° Certificate accompanying the Medal for Heroism signed by President Eisenhower and 
Secretary of the Army Brucker, 18 January 1961, "Four Chaplains" file. Office of the Chief of 

"^Correspondence from Rabbi David Max Eichhorn to Chaplain (LTC) James H. Young, 
Historical Office file. United States Army Chaplain Center and School, Ft. Wadsworth, SI, New 
York. The list of casualties from the Chief's office puts Liston's death on 7 February, rather 
than 3 February. 

"■ Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917—1946; p. 149. 

' Ibid. 



' Ibid. 



'= Ibid. 






• Ibid. 






' Ibid. 



-» Ibid. 



'^ Ibid. 



'"- Ibid. 






" Ibid. 




World War II — From Offense To 


The Military Situation — Offensive Phase 

In 1943 the Army increased in size by 3 million men. The President 
put a ceiling on strength at 8.2 million. Manpower, production, and 
strategy moved the United States from defense to offense. 1.5 Million 
men were sent overseas in that year, more than two-thirds of the total 
deployed against Germany. The number of soldiers in hospitals during 
World War II seldom fell below 200,000, and in 1945 peaked at 500,000. 
In the course of the war. Army casualties totaled 936,000 battle casual- 
ties, including 235,000 dead, and an additional 83,400 nonbattle deaths. 
The Army's dead represented about 3 percent of the 10,420,000 men 
who served in its ranks during World War 11.^ The chaplain branch was 
third in combat deaths on a percentage basis, behind the Air Forces and 
the Infantry. From Pearl Harbor to 30 September 1945, there were a 
total of 478 casualties among Army chaplains. 

Killed in action 63 

Wounded in action 273 

Prisoners of war (including 14 killed, 5 died) 57 

Missing in action 3 

Non-battle deaths (accident, disease) 82 

Total (including 164 deaths)' 478 

The high casualty rate among chaplains can be accounted for partly 
by the presence ministry, the "be there" school of thought reported at 
the close of Chapter III. Catholic chaplains, because of their theological 
framework, especially felt that their place was with the dying, and many 
of them were killed while giving the last rites. Protestant chaplains often 
felt that faith in the Lord gave men courage to face danger, and being 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


142 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

"up front" was for them a logical extension of practicing what they 
preached. Jewish chaplains were less numerous and assigned to higher 
headquarters, and tended to be less exposed to combat conditions, never- 
theless, the first Jewish chaplains in US Army history to die in war were 
killed in World War II. 

The North African campaign from" November 1942 through May 
1943 marked the beginning of the offensive phase of the war against 
Germany and Italy. This was followed by the Sicily Campaign, July- 
August 1943, the Italian campaign, September 1943-May 1945, and the 
often-delayed cross-channel attack that landed in Normandy on 6 June 
1944. On 15 August the Allies staged another invasion in southern 
France. Faced with entrapment by the advancing northern and southern 
forces, the Germans fell back toward their frontier.^ The total military 
collapse of Germany brought an entirely new set of priorities to the Army 
as it dealt with prisoners, displaced persons, refugees, civil government, 
occupation and war crimes. The chaplains were deeply involved in 
ministering in a changed setting. 

In the Pacific the offensive phase began 7 August 1942 with the 
amphibious landings on Guadalcanal, followed by landings on Attn in 
May, and Kiska in August 1943. The encirclement of Rabaul began in 
June 1943 by way of New Guinea and the Solomons, continued with 
the assault on Bougainville in November, and was completed with the 
landings in western and central New Britain from March to May 1944. 
"Island hopping," avoiding strong points, isolating them, and going on 
toward Japan characterized strategy in the Pacific to the end of the war. 
The 1943-44 China-Burma-India campaign in Southeast Asia bogged 
down "in a mire of conflicting national purposes." The Philippines cam- 
paign began 20 October 1944 and continued through May 1945 in what 
was dubbed "mopping up" operations.^ The Atomic bombing of Japan, 
total surrender, the end of the war, the morale problems and separation 
of millions of soldiers from service brought additional challenges to the 
Army and its clergy in uniform. 

Continued Administrative Developments 

The most striking change in the organization of American military 
forces in recent years was the emergence of the Air Force, first as an 
autonomous division of the Army, then as a primary defense force on a 
parity with the Army and Navy. Balloons were used during the Civil War 
for observation only. The rapid development of the dirigible and of 
machines heavier than air gave both a considerable combat importance 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


during the First World War, but the idea that they were useful primarily 
for observation and belonged in the Signal Corps was slow in yielding to 
broader concepts. Before 1941, the importance of air support of ground 
and sea forces was fully demonstrated through experience in the 
European armies. By the Act of 18 December 1941 the President was 
authorized to redistribute certain government agencies for the more 
efficient prosecution of the war; and on 28 February 1942 he ordered 
the reorganization of the Army into the Ground Forces, the Air Forces, 
and the Services of Supply. This arrangement was to be effective on 
9 March and continue until 6 months after the end of the war.^ 

Several problems arose in the adaptation of the chaplaincy to the 
new organization. The nature of air combat quickly demonstrated the 
impossibility of chaplains flying with their men, and it was agreed that 
their normal place of duty was at the base. The Chief of Chaplains 
discouraged the training of chaplains as pilots, believing that it would 
divert time and interest from their primary duties. Air combat involved 
sudden dangers, swift action, instant decisions, dash, and daring. To 
meet them on a common ground of understanding it was considered 
important that chaplains considered for duty with airmen should be 
young, alert, and resourceful. Because the nature of the Air Forces was 
different from Ground Forces, the argument began to build for a 
separate chaplaincy. 

To accomplish this, staff chaplains were authorized in the head- 
quarters of all higher echelons of the organization \vorked out for the 
Air Forces. At the head vv^as the Air Chaplain, with important adminis- 
trative functions. Charles J. Carpenter assumed these duties on 28 July 
1942 and performed them for nearly 3 years. On 6 April 1942 an Air 
Force liaison officer was established in the Office of the Chief of Chap- 
lains.*" By March 1944 the Air Forces included 2,411,294 personnel, or 
31 percent of Army personnel.' Carpenter "expanded" with the Air 
Forces, rising from captain to colonel bet\veen July '42 and October '43. 
1,925 chaplains were on duty with the Air Forces by the close of 1944.^ 

As the Ground Forces moved to an active combat role the questions 
surrounding chaplain supervision required answers. There were no 
officially designated staff chaplains until Maurice Reynolds, in 1940 
assigned as a Corps Area Chaplain, demonstrated the value of this super- 
visory position. Up to this time senior chaplains were in several instances 
designated "Department Chaplain" or "Corps Area Chaplain" as an 
additional duty, but supervisory responsibilities were very limited and the 
positions had no official recognition. The Chief of Chaplains gave super- 
See footnotes at end of chapter. 

144 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

vision through review of reports and exchange of ideas through a Circular 
Letter to all chaplains. There were almost no staff visits to chaplains in 
the field because of lack of funds. 

The status of supervisory chaplains to individual chaplains followed 
a pattern set by the Chief in 1941 when he said: 

Regimental chaplains are not to be considered as assistants to the 
Division or Post chaplain. It is rather the senior chaplain who is to assist 
the regimental chaplain in working out the problems involved in pro- 
viding an adequate program for complete ministry to their regiments.^ 

Gynther Storaasli, who succeeded Carpenter as Air Chaplain, gave a 
talk to supervisory chaplains in 1943 : 

In assuming the spirit of helpful service to the less experienced 
chaplains, we, who are called to function in supervisory capacities, will 
not only enhance the effectiveness of the local chaplain's work and thus 
contribute immeasurably to his usefulness, but we will more than justify 
the establishment of our supervisory positions, augment the usefulness of 
our sections in the military set up and thus improve the whole tone of the 
cause of God among the personnel we serve. ^° 

Chaplain Reynolds was a bit more blunt when he said, "Any chap- 
lain who takes offense at instructive criticism should get down on his 
knees and pray that his . . . judgment be broadened and his magnified 
sense of his own importance be made humble." 

Through the Chiefs monthly Circular Letter, directives, conferences, 
correspondence, telephone calls, staff visits, the chaplains Monthly 
Report, War Department Form No. 3, and professional channels the 
supervision of chaplains by chaplains continued to develop. In September 
1944 a Chaplain Evaluation Sheet was sent to all supervisory chaplains. 
It asked if the chaplain being evaluated should be invited to remain in 
service and the response was classified "Confidential." 

Chaplains were expected to maintain discipline of three types, per- 
sonal, church, and military. Personal discipline had to do with spiritual 
devotions, physical training, and good health habits that enabled a chap- 
lain to face the tests of physical strain, fatigue, and illness. Church 
discipline was the recognition that chaplains are bound in their conscience 
by the same church rules regarding sacramental functions as they were 
in their civilian parishes. It was in this area, and that of military disci- 
pline, that commanders and supervisors were sometimes called upon to 

Carpenter told his supervisors in 1943: 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


If a chaplain makes a mistake, do not presume that this head- 
quarters will shift the chaplain with his errors into some other command, 
thereby allowing him to continue his malfunction as a chaplain. 

The most widely used method for handling disciplinary cases was 
that of personal counsel and reprimand by the commander and staflF 
chaplain. Most commanders were willing to go "the second mile" to help 
a chaplain adjust to the military life and give him freedom to develop a 
good program. Another method was reassignment, but handling "prob- 
lem children" in this method was often ineffective. Court-martial and 
board proceedings were used in some serious cases involving breach of 
military law or moral delinquency. The threat of such proceedings led 
some erring chaplains to "resign for the good of the service." One of the 
most convenient means for the release of a chaplain who did not truly 
represent his church was removal of the ecclesiastical indorsement, which 
automatically terminated his service. 

By design from the Chief's Office, the Regular Army Chaplains were 
moved into supervisory positions, because of experience and the belief 
that they would be sticking around after the war and could gain expertise 
in administration that would be needed in a branch that would in all 
probability be much larger than it had been before the war. 

In God We Trust 

Leo Marx wrote that there is a fundamental way in which Ameri- 
can life is unique. "I mean the pervasive, slow dying American belief 
in the nation's unique, not to say providential, destiny . . . the sense of 
mission that still permeates our lives, private and public, in the United 
States." Throughout American history, Marx contended, there is a sense 
that the nation is a new Israel. ". . . .A sense of the sacred, and of being 
at the center, was transferred to American soil by the Puritans." " The 
belief in the rightness of their cause, the equation of God's will with the 
strategic and tactical plans of the United States Army were notes found 
again and again in chaplains' sermons, prayers, and writings. 

A lad stood guard in the sun on a troop ship and was felled by sun- 
stroke; he became ill to the point of death. His chaplain wrote of it, 
saying he bowed his head and asked the Lord to protect the boy, to give 
him life so he might continue with the great task before him, "O Lord, 
if it be Thy will, keep death from this ship. We are on a mission to de- 
stroy paganism and barbarianism before they destroy our democracy 
which. You know Father, comes from the teachings of Your son." He 
pointed out that they were ready to give their lives in the struggle to 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

146 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

preserve on earth the Lord's way of Hfe. A great struggle awaited them. 
"Spare us, then, this man, so he, too, may be able to strike his blow at 
the enemy. Amen." The soldier recovered.^" 

Another chaplain, Percy Hickox, reflected on the problem of the 
religious believer in uniform and wrote, *'A final question concerning the 
soldier and his religion is that which inquires whether the chaplains are 
prostituting religious faith to the war machine. They are not." He felt 
that chaplains were free to preach their own convictions and were in no 
manner circumscribed in their utterances by the military situation in 
which they found themselves. He said that a true religious faith steadied 
the believer and held him with a sure anchor in shifting tides of life; 
and this was true whether the storm came in civilian or in military 
surroundings. "We do preach that the soldier who has a faith to hold 
him is therefore a better soldier in combat ..." He believed that religion 
made a better soldier, for in the final analysis it was the quality of the 
soldier which was the final factor in battle. The government might 
provide him with the finest of weapons, but if he gave way to fearful 
apprehensions and threw them away, they were of no value. "I am 
happy that my contribution in the field of religion is a decisive factor in 
the war effort. I should still remain in the ranks of the chaplaincy if this 
were not the case ; but my enthusiasm for my work is enhanced by the 
consciousness of a military mission which is also met in my work." He 
went on to say that because of these factors more than one commanding 
officer stated that his chaplain was the most valuable staff officer he 

"We have called you to do a terrible job," wrote Ralph W. Nelson, a 
philosophy professor. "The Nation called you . . . But by her prayers the 
church has participated in this call. She has prayed that you might have 
God's help in your appalling work." Nelson characterized wartime 
prayer as asking God to please aid the soldier to get the job done 
quickly, and with protection for our side; to get the job done with a 
minimum of suffering and danger to ourselves, and with a maximum of 
destruction to the foe. The implicit assumption was that our side was 
just, and that the allies were God's accredited instruments." 

This was evidenced in the religious life of the church and syna- 
gogue by special prayers for the success of the Normandy invasion. The 
Right Reverend Henry St. George Tucker, presiding Bishop of the Pro- 
testant Episcopal Church, and president of the Federal Council of 
Churches of Christ in America, wrote a special prayer to be oflFered in 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


all the churches on "Invasion Day," and suggested that churches be 
opened for the use of the people. The prayer said in part: 

O righteous and omnipotent God, Who, in their tragedies and 
conflicts, judgest the hearts of men and the purposes of nations, enter 
into this struggle with Thy transforming power . . . May there arise a 
new order which shall endure because in it Thy will shall be done on 
earth as it is in heaven. . . ." ^^ 

Catholic Bishop William T. Manning issued a prayer for use dur- 
ing the invasion which said: 

Grant, we beseech Thee, speedy victory to the forces of right and 
freedom for the sake of all mankind. Uphold, strengthen and protect 
those who are serving in our armed forces .... And give us on the home- 
front faithfulness to do our part . . . . " ^® 

The president of the Association of Reformed Rabbis, William F. 
Rosenbaum, announced that not only would his members take part in 
prayer services for the invasion when it came, but that beginning im- 
mediately they would pray at every service "a special prayer for the 
Allied men and armies." It asked : 

Be especially with those who stand on the threshold of the great 
struggle against the forces of evil which is to liberate millions of our fel- 
low-men in Axis-occupied lands from the darkness and dread of per- 
secution. Be with them when they need Thee most in the hour of deci- 
sive combat." ^^ 

Such attitudes were as much a part of history as the chronicaling of 
events. They reflected the climate out of which the chaplains' ministry 
was performed in the midst of shot and the smell of cordite. 

The Wartime Ministry — Continued 

Training continued throughout the war and the ministry described 
earlier never ceased. But increasingly chaplains were involved in 
sustained combat with their men. The principal differences between 
chaplain activities in combat and those during training periods were that 
in combat, (a) chaplains operated on an irregular schedule; (b) the men 
were continually conscious of the possibility of death and were inclined 
to give more serious attention to religion; (c) the wounded became an 
important part of the chaplains' concern; (d) caring for the dead and 
assisting in graves registration was an added responsibility; (e) religious 
ministrations were conducted with a minimum of shelter and 
equipment. ^^ 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

148 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINGY--1920-1945 

It was not only exposure to danger that made the life of a frontlme 
chaplain difficult, but also the nature of his ministry, which made it 
almost impossible to return nightly to the shelter provided for him. One 
chaplain was said to live "like a gypsy." It was said of him ". . . he is 
lucky if one night in seven he finds a cot or dilapidated bed to sleep in. 
Usually he has to bunk under a tent or in the open."^" A summary of 
chaplain activities in the Pacific added climate as an enemy : 

In many cases the chaplain's efficiency would decrease after a year 
in the tropics. Many were returned to the States with broken health. 
Many were subject to serious skin diseases which were difficult to clear 
up under existing conditions."" 

Some broke down from overwork ; others found the sensitivity of a 
pastor's heart difficult to reconcile with the reality of war, and suffered 
from "nerves." A supervising chaplain wrote, "One older man we are 
shifting because he cried when planes took off on a mission, and 
thanked God publicly when planes returned, saying publicly that he had 
not expected to see them return alive. We are placing him with ground 
engineers. Maybe that will bring him back to earth. ""^ Men did not 
know when they would return from the war. There was no established 
date of return, but a vague term known as "in for the duration." 
Regularly established rotation plans, and rest and recuperation programs 
were not a factor in the thoughts of men who headed toward Europe or 
the Pacific in 1943. Periods of relief or rest for the unit were not usually 
periods of rest for the chaplain; the counseling problems that could not 
be handled in combat were dealt with in "stand down" situations. ^^ 

The chaplains were volunteers, and many actively sought combat 
duty — not because they thought they would enjoy war, but because they 
felt they could make a more effective contribution in ministering to men 
under such conditions. Yoder P. Leith was written up in Yank as a 
combat chaplain. One of his surprises was the "morale of the men was 
better in the combat area than to the rear. Everyone at the front 'pulled 
together.' " Later he said of his experiences, "I was often in danger, and 
was once wounded, but I found none of these experiences 
'harrowing' — only 'interesting.' " "^ 

The difference between heroic chaplains and those who also served 
as they stood and waited sometimes depended on "the luck of the 
draw." Lewis H. Grimes, a Texas Methodist, wrote about a time when 
the Aid Station was split in two during an advance. 

Both medical officers were with the other section. A warrant officer 
and I were with the other detail. It turned out, surprisingly, that our 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


section met with the resistance that the other section expected. And I 
found that I could function throughout one night in an emergency situa- 
tion as a fairly effective medical aid person." 

(He was more than an effective medical aid person, and went on to win 
the Legion of Merit; he wrote eight books, and served from 1949 as 
Professor of Christian Education at Perkins School of Theology, 
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. )"^ Francis A. 
Cunningham, a Catholic priest, had a totally different experience. 
"Chaplains were supposed to be in short supply, but we went with our 
hospital for a whole year together without getting a single patient." And 
another chaplain reported: ". . . They let 5 of us sit in the Port of 
Embarkation for 8 months.""^ 

The experiences of some men were picked up by the press; the 
majority went unheralded. Leland L. Loy said he was shot at by the 
German 88, (a fearful weapon that appeared often in the memory of 
those recounting World War II experiences) blown out of holes by 
bombs, saw "men step on mines behind and before me . . . strafed, shot 
at by snipers . . . normal combat but the abnormal, never got touched, 
or wounded, just scared stiff perpetually."'^ Some rose to prominence 
in an isolated moment, while others found that opportunity knocked on 
their door repeatedly. Earnest E. Eells, a Presbyterian from Virginia, 
became well acquainted with such summons to duty in Africa and 
France. On the beach at Salerno, when no one else appeared, he and 
Chaplain Schleede directed the traffic coming ashore and found the 
location of the proper unit for a bivouac. "Schleede deserv^ed 
commendation for this as he was doing something out of his line of 
duty," he wrote. Near Naples he crawled under an overturned medic's 
supply wagon and rescued the medic and driver at great personal risk 
while gasoline ran over them. It was mentioned in the 100th Battalion 
history, but he received no award. Later, a chaplain he served with took 
a squad of German prisoners along the Volturno River, and "I took four 
German prisoners with their guard, a Hawaiian from the 100th 
Battalion, from a bridge over the Mussolini Canal . . ." that was about 
to be blown up. (Eells' son. Lieutenant Colonel Calvin Edward Eells, 
won a DSC in World War II ; another son, David, a lieutenant in the 
Korean war, won a Silver Star and Purple Heart ; and a stepson, Robert 
W. Gallagher, a Navy lieutenant commander, was killed in action at Iwo 

Another chaplain who found repeated opportunities to demonstrate 
courage under fire was William E. King. In peacetime he served as pastor 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

246-684 O - 78 - 11 

150 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

of the Maywood Baptist Church in Kansas City, Missouri. In war he was 
a pastor on the Sicihan front. During the battle of San Rosso Hill the 
body of an American soldier lay on the highway between friendly and 
enemy lines. The chaplain and three men took a jeep and drove down 
the highway to recover him. The Germans let the group reach the body 
and wrap it in a blanket; as they were lifting it into the jeep, an 88 
opened up. King directed the men to take cover while he drove back to 
friendly lines through the enemy fire. In the dead man's pocket were 
five unopened letters from home, which the chaplain dehvered to him in 
the front lines during the previous night. 

A few days earlier Chaplain King was slightly wounded while 
carrying water to frontline troops attacking a hill. "The boys needed 
water badly, so I and a helper took it up to them. I put down a 5 gallon 
can when it exploded straight up. A piece of shrapnel grazed my right 
hand and cut a hole in my right trouser leg, while my companion was 
more seriously hurt. Near Cakagirona, King demonstrated under fire 
that he was ready to minister to both friend and foe, an experience shared 
by many chaplains throughout the war. As big guns and tanks slugged 
it out, King crawled to assist a German whose leg was fractured by 
machine gun bullets. He knelt behind a low stone wall, made temporary 
splints, bandaged tHe enemy soldier, and gave him water. He discovered 
that the German was flown there only the day before, and had been in 
the front lines just eight hours. "He patted my hand and looked his 
gratitude, saying afterward through an interpreter that he had been 
told Americans mutilated their prisoners.""^ 

James P. Galvin experienced the fact that war can have a fallout on 
the innocent, unexpected and tragic. He remembered a bomber on routine 
checkout flight that was caught in a storm over Wharton, England; it 
crashed into a tea cafe and a kindergarten, killed more than fifty, and 
horribly burned many."^ He ministered to the survivors, helping them to 
find faith in soul-trying circumstances; it was not something that could 
be statistically reported, but it was part of the wartime ministry. 

Midnight mass on Christmas 1943 found Edward G. Finnerty at 
Maison Blanche, Algiers. A French and British chaplain assisted, while 
a French group provided music which was soon drowned out by Italian 
prisoners of war allowed out of the stockade for the occasion. Some 
2,000 French, American, British, and Yugoslav troops attended. The 
nativity scene used as a backdrop for the altar was painted by an Italian 
prisoner.'"' John T. Byrne wrote : "When Italian POWs became 'Friendly 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


Co-Belligrants' attitudes changed. Only one POW remained adamant 
in his Fascism — you guessed it. He was a chaplain !"^^ 

Many chaplains took prisoners, even though they were unarmed. 
Richard H. Chase captured four Italians at El Guettar. He had taken a 
detail of men to fetch the bodies of some soldiers killed high up in the 
hills. He was using five Italian prisoners with an American guard for this 
detail. Suddenly, three or four handkerchiefs appeared in a small wadi 
ahead. Four Italians rose with their hands in the air. "I'm sure grateful 
they weren't in a belligerent mood ... or I would have looked like a 
sieve," he said. They were disarmed, searched, and added to the detail. ^^ 

Chaplains sometimes found themselves on rosters, on a "one from 
each section" basis, as did Thomas E. Hayes. The roster was for duty at 
a traffic control point at a bridgehead over the Elbe. Hayes "rendered 
outstanding service by detecting and capturing three German officers 
who tried to pass him at the traffic control point in a captured American 
vehicle." '' 

Supervisory chaplains had their problems in combat. As he looked 
down the roster of XVIII Airborne Corps chaplains "the boss" noted 
that: Robert M. Hennon was missing in action since Normandy; Ignatius 
P. Matemowski was killed in action; David W. Ryan was hospitalized 
with malaria; Matthew J. Connelly was hospitalized with an injury. Later 
John J. Verret was killed; Francis L. Sampson was captured; William B. 
Byrd suffered a broken back during a practice jump ; Paschal D. Fowlkes 
was killed in action and George Grain wounded.^* Not only did they have 
to fight for replacements, try to administer an ever changing roster in an 
ever changing locale, cope with constantly changing troop strengths; 
supervisory chaplains also found prisoners of war, displaced persons, 
staiving civilian populations, national pastors, and the burial of the dead 
added to their concerns. 

On the basis of experiences in World War I, official Army doctrine 
at the beginning of hostilities in the European Theater defined the 
battalion aid station as the chaplain's normal post of duty during 
combat. As exceptions to the general rule, Catholic chaplains were 
sometimes stationed at regimental collecting points where they could 
serve a wider Catholic population. Some commanding officers expressed 
the opinion that chaplains should be with the most forward elements. 
The value of such a procedure for morale had to be balanced against the 
fact that the chaplain could minister to only a very few men at most; 
exposed to unnecessary hazards, he potentially robbed his unit of all 
chaplain ministrations until he was replaced.^" 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

152 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

Many chaplains demonstrated tenacity concerning their duties. 
WilHam E. Capron broke his ankle and would have been replaced, but 
refused to leave, and held mass with his leg in a cast.^*^ George B. Riddle 
was division chaplain with the 82nd Airborne Division. He was badly 
injured around the face and head in a glider accident. He refused 
evacuation, worked during the day, and spent evenings at the hospital 
as a patient. Finally an attack of malaria forced his return to the United 

Charles Lynnwood Brown, a North Carolina Presbyterian, jumped 
from the lead plane on 15 August 1944 in the invasion of Southern 
France. He broke an ankle and was slightly wounded by machine gun 
fire. The French Red Cross rescued him and three days later he was in a 
hospital in Naples. A few weeks later, disturbed by reports of disaster to 
his regiment, he "escaped" from the hospital with the help of a nurse, 
caught the blood bank plane and rejoined his unit in combat. ^^ Albert J. 
Hoffman lost a leg near Cassino, Italy. He was considered "the most 
decorated chaplain" and his combat exploits were written up in Saturday 
Evening Post, Time, Newsweek, Life, and, "There were also a couple of 
comic books that featured me, and one syndicated cross word puzzle." ^^ 
The decorations and publicity missed the fact that some of his best 
pastoral work was done when he was himself a patient. His ministry to 
fellow amputees was more meaningful because of his wounds, and his self 
effacing humility revealed a spiritual maturity and strength that carried 
many a young soldier past self pity to a new way of looking at life. He 
said "I've met the finest men in the United States. I've lived with them, 
worked with them and suffered with them, and I've seen them die." Even 
though trained to be hard fighting men, he considered them incapable of 
hating the enemy. "They are a fine crowd, and I am proud to have been 
with them and to have kept them company." *" 

Others gave up a bit more easily. Michael B. Kaufmann, who com- 
manded the 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division, told of 
how they got rid of their chaplain, who was a "sin buster." In England, 
prior to the Normandy invasion, English girls of the area were sometimes 
unofficially invited to the camp. The chaplain took real delight in ferret- 
ing out sin and would burst through the door of an officers' quarters to 
confront a surprised couple innocently having tea. After complaints to 
the commanding officer were met with the objection that one could not 
interfere with the chaplain in his performance of duty, one captain 
decided to "get the sanctimonious SOB." At a prearranged signal, female 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


laughter was heard coming from one of the rooms; when the chaplain 
burst through the door, he found himself staring down the barrel of a 
cocked .45 caliber automatic pistol. The next day the chaplain asked for 
transfer to a medical unit, and his request was granted.^^ 

Chaplain Joseph A. Gilmore, in the final battle for Rome, discovered 
that while he was ministering to the sick, a machine gun bullet from a 
strafing aircraft had pierced his pillow. When he tried to get some sleep 
he was awakened and summoned to the admissions tent of the hospital 
to care for incoming wounded. Another aircraft fired into the tent and 
nine men were killed, among them the faithful priest. He died while 
annointing an enlisted man. In the last moment of his life, "in his hand 
was found the cotton dipped in oil, ready to carry on his earthly work 
even until the God he served called him home." Gregory Kennedy said 
his Requiem Mass.*" 

Milton O. Beebe served as the Mediterranean Theater Chaplain. In 
reporting to the Chief of Chaplains he wrote : "Father Pat Ryan is doing 
a good piece of work in the 5th Army. He runs a good office and adminis- 
ters the work of chaplains there splendidly. His associate. Chaplain 
Charles Brown is very effective. " *^ (Ryan and Brown were both later 
selected to be Chief of Chaplains.) Upon the fall of Rome, 4 June 1944, 
services of Thanksgiving were held. On 6 June, at 11:00 A.M., Pope 
Pius XII held the first public audience since the beginning of the war. 
On the 11th Chaplain Ryan said mass at Santa Maria degl'Angeli on 
the Piazzi Esedera. The deacon was a French chaplain, the subdeacon 
was British, the Sistine Choir of the Vatican sang, and 1 0,000 worshippers 
attended.** On 30 June the Pope held a private audience for American 
Catholic chaplains. He said: 

"In this tragic hour of human history . . . you have hurried with 
eager, unselfish zeal in pursuit of souls that have been caught up in the 
maelstrom of war and thrown into the perils of battle and the tempta- 
tions of a soldiers life. . . . No ordinary shepherds of souls are needed 
here . . . Your Bishops . . . have given of their best " ^^ 

1943 was remembered sorrowfully in the annals of American Jewish 
Army chaplains. Four Jewish chaplains died that year while in the 
service: Alexander D. Goode, the first Jewish chaplain killed in action in 
any of America's wars; Herman L. Rosen; Henry Goody; and Samuel 
Hurwitz. Aaron Paperman became the first Jewish chaplain to reach the 
continent of Europe, and held the first Jewish service in the former Nazi 
empire.*' After the liberation of Lyons, France, on 15 September 1944, 
the Jewish Colony rededicated the synagogue. 1,500 Jews attended. The 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

154 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

American Jewish chaplain and his assistant were invited and spoke at the 
service. "It was this Jewish synagogue that had been viciously desecrated 
by the German Army, having been vandalized according to plan and a 
big beer party staged in the place of worship." '' David Eichom held 
services in a synagogue in Luneville, France, on 26 September 1944, 
before the town was officially taken. The city was literally between the 
lines. Eichom wrote, "This was probably the only time in American 
military history when soldiers got up out of their fox holes to go forward 
to worship . . ." ^^ 

Chaplain Eugene E. Campbell, a Mormon, was headed for Fulda, 
Germany, to meet his headquarters unit. He was detoured by a destroyed 
bridge and as he traveled through two German towns he noticed that the 
citizens had white sheets hanging out. When he got to Fulda he found 
that his unit had not arrived. Questioned later as to where he had been, 
the officer in charge said, "Congratulations, chaplain, you just conquered 
two towns." ^® 

Several chaplains were not as lucky as Campbell and were cap- 
tured by the enemy, either because they elected to stay with the 
wounded, or because they became separated from their own troops while 
working near the front. Eugene L. Daniel was one of the first chaplains 
captured, taken by the German Africa Corps in Tunisia, 16 February 
1943. He stayed behind with wounded Americans and Germans when 
his unit was forced to withdraw. He was later awarded the Distin- 
guished Service Cross for this action. (Earlier he won a Silver Star in 
the assault on Algiers. ) The German officer in command of his captors 
wrote Chaplain Daniel a letter of commendation. The chaplain spent 
twenty-six months as a POW in Germany. He was allowed freedom to 
preach and minister to American and allied troops throughout his 

Seven chaplains of the 106th Division were captured during a 
breakthrough at the Siegfried Line. The fighting was heavy for five days 
prior to their capture ; the men had practically no sleep, and little time 
for eating. Harry W. Alexander took charge of collecting the woimded 
and surrendered with forty of them. He refused to leave the woods until 
he was certain no wounded were left behind. The next morning seven 
thousand officers and men, including the seven chaplains, were marched 
thirty-six miles without food then herded into boxcars, sixty men to a 
car, and shifted through railway yards in Germany for the next seven 
days. Bombed by American planes at Limburg, nine officers were killed. 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


Four chaplains from the 28th Division were added to the prisoner total. 
On Christmas Day, services were held in every boxcar ; even under such 
conditions of anxiety and uncertainty, the joyful music of Christmas 
carols filled the railroad station. A group of civilians brought a Christ- 
mas tree into the railway yard and sang "Away in a Manger." It was also 
the day the men received their first food — one Red Cross box per seven 
men. Three days later they were imprisoned at Bad Orb, Stalag 9-B. 
Breakfast consisted of a canteen cup of German coffee without milk or 
sugar. A cupful of thin soup — potato, carrot, turnip, beet, or pea — made 
up the noon meal. No evening meal was provided. A daily ration of one- 
sixth to one-tenth of a loaf of bread, two spoonsfuls weekly of sugar, mar- 
garine, and jerry jam completed the menu. The men lost from forty to 
sixty pounds in their one hundred and eight days as prisoners. Some 
chaplains held prayer meetings every night, "for the men were desperate 
for hope and assurance." ^^ 

Francis L. Sampson was probably captured the most times. He 
jumped in with the 101st Airborne Division in the invasion of Nor- 
mandy, landed in a stream and located his chaplain's kit after the fifth 
or sixth dive. He stayed behind with the wounded, changed bandages, 
said prayers, and was cooking some hot chocolate for the wounded when 
German paratroopers appeared in the yard. He went out to surrender 
and was nearly shot, but a noncommissioned officer stopped his would- 
be executioners. Sampson said he was so scared that instead of the act 
of contrition, he said the grace before meals ! He was allowed to stay with 
the wounded. An American counterattack freed him. On his next jump 
into combat, in Holland, he again landed in the water, a moat surround- 
ing a castle. Nearly captured again, he went to Bastogne with his unit, 
and they were soon surrounded. He attempted to reach some wounded 
men and was captured again. Sampson's experience was similar to 
others : sealed in a train for six days without food or water, unexpected 
American bomber attacks, and religious services held under seemingly 
impossible conditions." 

In the airborne invasion of Holland, Raymond S. Hall, Robert S. 
Scott, and Tilden S. McGee were captured. ^^ John W. Handy, Jr., as- 
signed to the 375 Engineer Regiment, was lost behind German lines 
with only his driver for company during the battle for St. Lo.'^ 

Chaplains have always shown a special concern for the sick and 
wounded. Again and again they did extraordinary things to minister to 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

156 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

them and protect them as well. Gerard W. Taggart served with the 
175th Infantry Regiment in the 29th Infantry Division. His units was: 

". . . subjected to heavy enemy artillery and machine gun fire 
followed by a violent counterattack, resulting in the surrounding of a 
building in which the medical detachment was treating casualties. 
After the enemy had mercilessly sprayed the aid station with direct ma- 
chine gun fire, they then asked its personnel and wounded to surren- 
der. In an attempt to protect the wounded, Chaplain Taggart emerged 
from the aid station building with his hands in the air but was met by 
withering enemy gunfire and grenades. After feigning death by lying 
on the ground under a pounding of concussion grenades. Chaplain Tag- 
gart waited until the enemy fire was temporarily subsided then withdrew 
into the building where for six hours he gave comfort and administered 
first aid to the wounded." ^^ 

During the Battle of the Bulge at Bastogne, roads were blocked by 
winter snows so that chaplains sometimes waded hip deep in snow to 
hold services.^*^ Surrounded, facing an uncertain outcome, Charles V. 
McSweeney recalled, ". . . as we stood in the Huertgen Forest in a 
blinding storm of snow I heard one of the men sing out 'Let's get these 
men out of the hot sun.' " " Several priests reported Mass in the mud, 
and asked the men not to kneel because of it, but they did anyway out 
of reverence. 

The Weather Prayer 

Weather was always an important factor in war. One of the famous 
incidents in the 1944 Battle of the Bulge in Europe involved General 
George A. Patton and a prayer about the weather. Some controversy and 
confusion grew up around it "Even in War As I Knew It by General Pat- 
ton, the footnote on the Prayer by Colonel Paul D. Harkins, Patton's 
Deputy Chief of Staff ... is not the true account of the prayer incident 
or its sequence." ^^ The words were those of Chaplain (Brigadier Gen- 
eral) James H. O'Neill, Deputy Chief of Chaplains, written in 1950 to 
set the record straight. He was the Third Army Chaplain throughout five 
campaigns under General Patton. "I should have some knowledge of the 
event because ... I composed the . . . Prayer, and wrote training letter 
No. 5 ... an integral, but untold part of the prayer story." ^^ 

It all began with a telephone call to the Third Army Chaplain on the 
morning of 8 December 1944. 

"This is General Patton; do you have a good prayer for weather? We 
must do something about these rains if we are to win the war." 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


O'Neill responded that he would have such a prayer within the hour. 
"The few prayer books at hand contained no formal prayer on weather 
that might prove acceptable to the Army Commander. Keeping his im- 
mediate objective in mind, I typed an original and an improved copy on 
a 5'' X 3'^ filing card: 

Almighty and most merciful Father, We humbly beseech Thee, of 
Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we 
have to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to 
us soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may ad- 
vance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness 
of our enemies, and establish Thy justice among men and nations. 
Amend." «" 

General Patton read the prayer and directed that 250,000 copies be 
printed and distributed to every man in Third Army. He also had quite 
an interesting conversation with his chaplain on the subject of prayer; 
Patton then directed him to put out a training letter to his chaplains — 
there were 486 of them, representing 32 denominations — on the subject 
of prayer. "We've got to get not only the chaplains but every man in the 
Third Army to pray. We must ask God to stop these rains. These rains 
are the margin that holds defeat or victory," said Patton. 

On December 20, to the consternation of the Germans and the 
delight of the American forecasters who were equally surprised at the turn 
about — the rains and the fog ceased. For the better part of a week came 
bright clear skies and perfect flying weather — General Patton prayed for 
fair weather for battle. He got it. 

"It was late in January of 1945 when I saw the Army Commander 
again. This was in the city of Luxembourg. He stood directly in front of 
me and smiled : 'Well, Padre, our prayers worked. I knew they would.' 
Then he cracked me on the side of my steel helmet with his riding crop. 
That was his way of saying 'Well done !' " ^^ 

Meanwhile ... In The Pacific 

The ministry of chaplains in the Pacific was essentially the same as 
their counterparts in Europe, but there were some differences. Frederick 
E. Kirker wrote, "The first thing of importance out here is physical fitness. 
This is a prime requisite for efficient service. One needs not only strength 
but endurance. This type of warfare brings out all of one's hidden de- 
fects." ""^ Climate was different. Not many chaplains in the American 
Army spoke Japanese ; more spoke German. Many German prisoners of 
war and civilians were Catholic or Protestant ; most Japanese were non- 
Christians, and the ministry among prisoners of war was therefore quite 
different. There were fewer chaplains in the Pacific and they were spread 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

158 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

over greater distances. Because of island hopping tactics, sustained com- 
bat tended to be of shorter duration. After the initial Japanese victories in 
the Philippines, chaplains in the Pacific theater were not taken prisoner ; 
however, those captured were prisoners for a longer period of time and 
under much harsher conditions than experienced in Europe. Overall, 
however, the similarities of the two fronts outweighed the differences for 
the ministry of most chaplains. 

One of the important parts of ministering to soldiers and their fami- 
lies was correspondence. A family wrote in reply to a letter from one chap- 
lain, a rabbi, "My husband and I want to thank you across the sea . . . we 
feel most contented with the knowledge that you are there keeping good 
watch over him, which means everything in the world to us." ®^ Harry 
Richmond was the chaplain. He enlisted in World War I as a private, 
and became a first lieutenant chaplain; he came back on duty in 1940, 
and for months was the only Jewish chaplain in Hawaii. He gathered 
soldiers in his kitchen where his wife, Helena, cooked "latke" (pancakes) 
for homesick soldiers. He celebrated the first Passover in the history of 
Kauai in 1942.*'' Another parent wrote appreciatively of the chaplain's 
letters, "It is as if a lasting cruel storm is uprooting our lives, and every 
expression of human kindness and consideration is like a ray of sunshine 
and a little hope in the survival of the kinder and finer things in human 
life." ^^ An unusual letter went to the Chief of Chaplains from a sergeant 
in the Solomon Islands, who pleaded with him not to transfer their chap- 
lain. "He's the best second baseman on the island." ^'^ 

Vincent A. Cox organized and directed the first variety show ever 
held for the troops on Ascension Island. He called it "Rock Happy," 
since admission could be gained only by bringing a rock. William E. 
Capron started a Daily News, which included news of the world, current 
events on Ascension, and a history of the place. He also opened a library." 
Charles H. Dubra, a black chaplain, was the first American chaplain to 
land in New Guinea. He served there two years during which he acted as 
adviser on Negro affairs, supervised coverage of Negro troops, and 
traveled extensively in carrying out his work. On 2 June 1944 he was 
awarded the Legion of Merit in recognition for this outstanding service. ^^ 
George R. Yancey made it to the Tenth Air Force after only three months 
in service. "This unprecedentedly brief military background was accepted 
as adequate apparently because of the shortage of available Negro 
chaplains." ®® 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


Chaplain Tull, at Kunming, reported American cigarettes were 
almost nonexistent, even at the exhorbitant cost of $3.00 a pack. At 
Assam, Chaplain Zellner reported that American toilet tissue was being 
hoarded by the Quartermaster while American personnel were using 
British "sandpaper." "A Jap shell struck the warehouse and when the 
smoke cleared away, the wreckage and trees and bushes were festooned 
with garlands of American toilet tissue." ^° 

Americans had to look at their maps to find places with previously 
unheard of names. Chaplain William C. Taggart, then a first lieutenant, 
was awarded a Silver Star for gallantry in action between Djockjakarta 
and Djilatjap, Java, on 27 February 1942. "While troops were being 
evacuated from Djockjakarta . . . Taggart rendered valuable service in 
keeping together a seventy-five vehicle convoy traveling at night over 
unknown roads under strick blackout conditions. His efforts kept the 
convoy from becoming separated or lost and falling into enemy hands. A 
few days later, while enroute to Australia from Java, Taggart assisted in 
driving off an enemy reconnaissance plane which attempted to strafe the 
ship. Instead of taking cover, he supplied ammunition to the men operat- 
ing the machine guns." After the incident he was cited for helping to care 
for sailors wounded in the Macassar Straits battle."^ 

Due to the efforts of missionaries there were native Christians in the 
Pacific. An American soldier in New Georgia sent a money order to his 
pastor in the amount of $100.00 with the instruction that it be used for 
foreign missions. He said, "The success of this campaign depended upon 
the co-operation we received from natives . . . who a few years ago were 
savages. ... A handful of missionaries risked their lives and sacrified the 
comforts of home to teach these natives Christianity." He concluded 
that he owed his safety to them and looked upon the money order not 
as a gift, but a debt of gratitude.^" A downed flyer told of being rescued by 
fierce-looking natives who led him along ever more dark and dense jungle 
paths until he wondered if he had made a mistake in trusting them. He 
was greatly reassured when they began to hum "Onward Christian 
Soldiers." " 

Leon W. Hawley told of the beautiful wedding of a nurse and an 
officer in New Guinea. Female soldiers of the Women's Army Corps 
made the wedding gown from a parachute and the chapel was beautifully 
decorated with orchids.'* Malcolm D. Hooker said, "I had a very interest- 
ing experience when I baptized the child of a man who had been in the 
underground movement in the Philippines ; I did this in a civilian church 
in which that day I preached the sermon. The choir of my military group 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

160 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-19« 

sang." ^^ Harold T. Grabau served as a hospital chaplain in India. He 
got military personnel involved in local mission projects, both Protestant 
and Catholic, to assist schools, orphanages, and the like, "to keep alive 
the spirit of Christian love and concern." ""^ Mert M. Lampson got a 
firsthand look at missions. "I visited, more or less regularly, with such 
groups in Kunming as the Lutheran sisters ( Missouri-Synod ) , Southern 
Presbyterians and Wesleyan Methodists. Once, I talked to a deaf and 
dumb Chinese children's orphanage, with the help of an instructor who 
used sign language." He also made a 900-mile trip from Kunming to 
Myitkyina, through the Burmese jungle, to visit isolated engineer and 
signal corps troops. Most had not seen a chaplain for three to six months. 
He distributed funds to 16 Protestant groups in Kunming, including 
English Pentecostal, Church of England, and Wesleyan Methodist. 
Lampson himself was a Methodist.'' As Patrick J. Ryan said, "We prac- 
ticed it (ecumenism) before we knew the word." '" 

Chaplain Edwin L, Kirtley was an unusually gifted man with a 
talent for organization, ability to coordinate with others, and a knack 
for meeting the needs of the situation which extended his ministry far 
beyond "one on one" relationships. He served with the CCC from August 
1937 to July 1940, and observed: "For me this was an excellent training 
period as a chaplain." Later Kirtley organized a soldier choir and chorus, 
which presented "The Wizard of Ord," a musical, in the Hollywood Bowl 
in October 1941, and in the San Francisco Opera House in November. 
He coordinated division-wide services in the Mojave Desert in 1942. He 
played football, basketball, track, tennis, bowling, and volley ball while in 
service, and promoted boxing teams. At Fort Ord, he organized the first 
major scale camp show for the armed forces. He originally arranged the 
show for his own 32nd Infantry Regiment, but Major General Joseph W. 
Stillwell showed command interest and support ; he opened it up to the 
7th Motorized Division and their dependents, so that 30,000 persons 
attended. Among the performers were : The Ritz Brothers, Jack Benny, 
Mary Livingstone, Rochester, Marlene Dietrich, Claudette Colbert. 
Carole Landis, Joan Blondell, Virginia O'Brien, George Jessel, George 
Bums and Gracie Allen. In combat in the Pacific he ministered to troops 
in the Battle of Attn Island. He translated the Marshallese Bible into a 
lexicon in English, and served as an interpreter for Marshallese in the 
Kwajalein operation. Asked what assignment he liked least after thirty 
years in service, Kirtley replied, "I liked every assignment which came to 
me. Each in its time and place was best. I consider each assignment a 
stepping platform to a higher and better service ... I simply feel that 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


they all fit into an almost complete picture of the fulfillment of one's 
ministry." "^ 

Looking back, different people recalled different memories, John 
M. Brew recalled preaching at Mass in the Pacific while mothers con- 
tinually nursed their children.'" Tom K. Gabrielsen recalled getting 
ready for the invasion of Kiska; with casualties projected at 5,000, he 
wrote a letter to his family to be mailed "in case anything happened to 
me." -' The Japanese left prior to the landing so there was no need to 
mail the letter. The unit was then sent to Kwajalein, and since they were 
to be on a transport thirty-eight days, Gabrielsen managed to get "about 
one ton of magazines and some additional books" aboard for the men to 
read. Einar Jorgenson "pasted the prayers for dying Catholic and Jewish 
men" in the flyleaf of his chaplain's field service book, along with some 
pertinent information concerning graves registration.'" 

Elmer W. Heindl demonstrated that lightning could strike again 
and again for the same person. He received the Bronze Star with V 
device, the Silver Star, and the Distinguished Service Cross between 
July 1944 and July 1945. All of these awards were essentially for the 
same kind of action, but with varied degrees of daring, as interpreted 
by witnesses. He went out and brought in the wounded under sniper, 
machine gun, and mortar fire; risked his life to climb a tower to give 
first aid to the wounded; and in one case, was forced to take shelter in 
an open grave when a sniper opened up on a burial service in progress. 
His calm and cheerful presence on all occasions of combat "had the de- 
sired effect upon our men, and helped them successfully combat the 
enemy force." ^^ 

Sometimes chaplains demonstrated courage, not only against the 
enemy, but also against gruff, rough and tough commanders. Kenneth 
W. Fristoe was supposed to land on Morotai Island, in the Netherlands 
East Indies, with the last wave of troops. So many men and officers were 
disappointed that he would not be with the first wave that he asked 
for permission to join it, and the Chief of Staff approved. A "Duck" 
(amphibious vehicle) took him, his assistant, and their equipment to the 
landing craft just before it pulled out. "When the men saw the chaplain 
was arriving a rousing cheer, like one hears at a football game, split the 
air." He got the "urge" to hold a service for the men aboard, and learned 
that he would have to get permission from the ship's captain who, he 
was warned, was "a hard old salt." 

I approached the captain's cabin with a bit of anxiety. When I 
knocked he invited me in with a gruff voice. I introduced myself and 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

162 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

told him what I wanted to do. Without answering me he said, "What 
did you say your name is, chaplain?" I repeated my name. He asked, 
"Do you know Bill Fristoe in Santa Cruz, California, by any chance?" 
I replied, "I surely do. Bill Fristoe is my father and Santa Cruz is my 

It turned out that the captain owned race horses in Santa Cruz, 
and bought feed for years at the store where Chaplain Fristoe's father was 
manager. They talked for some time and the captain again asked what it 
was he wanted to do. The request was repeated and the captain replied, 
"The ship is yours, chappy. When do you want the PA system turned on?" 
At daybreak Fristoe conducted a service. A sergeant with a beautiful bar- 
itone voice sang '*The Old Rugged Cross." The chaplain read eleven 
verses of Psalm 91, and offered prayer extemporaneously. When he said, 
"Amen" and opened his eyes, he saw that nearly every helmet had been 
removed. In a few minutes the landing craft moved out and the attack 
was under way. Not one man from this ship was lost.^* 

Not everyone in the Pacific was in jungle heat; Alaska and the 
Aleutians, for instance, were cold. Chaplain Joseph Ware, a Christian 
Scientist, had a unique assignment. He was to find and serve the men of 
his denomination wherever they were in Alaska, and to conduct as many 
general Protestant services as time and circumstances permitted. He was 
invited to conduct a Christmas Day service at a communication system 
transmitting station high up on a mountain near Kiska. A lieutentant in 
a caterpillar tractor picked him up and they rode together through a 
terrific blizzard. "The outpost was completely buried in snow. Not a 
hut could been seen. We slid down a tunnel into the Quonset hut which 
served as mess and recreation hall." There, shut away from the storm, 
Christmas was celebrated. ■"' Similarly, Chaplain Kenson Kennedy was 
given unlimited freedom to travel at large throughout the China- 
Burma-India theater. William F. Mullaly, "sensitive to all sorts of 
needs," in his first report mentioned a social gathering he arranged for 
unmarried officers in Karachi.^® 

Albert A. Gordon arranged for Passover in New Guinea in a well 
attended session with ecumenical, interracial overtones. He planned a 
Seder celebration for a maximum attendance of 600 but one thousand 
came. It was held in the hospital mess. They used mimeographed 
Haggadahs, (the printed ones came the day after the service) ; he got 
Jewish cooks and former caterers to help ; a Chinese friend baked ; fresh 
vegetables were obtained by an Australian army captain Michael Perl, 
from some "Fuzzy Wuzzy" natives from New Guinea.'' 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


Bertram L. Smith served with what were then designated colored 
units. He reported that in many outfits there were men called to preach. 

I attended one of the evening services of a ten-day revival. The men 
came to it after finishing their duties. A mess hall was set up by the chapel. 
Three preachers had a part in the service. The preaching was fervent and 
good, the singing was excellent, the devotional element was real and deep. 
Surely good only would result from such a service.®^ 

That was not an isolated experience. Men often ministered to other 
men in the absence of a chaplain, or as an extension of the ministry of 
the chaplain. Many chaplains reported knowledge of a number of young 
men who were called to the ministry as a result of their army experiences. 
In some cases these men were closer to their fellow soldiers than the chap- 
lain. Paul D. Moody reported the experience of a friend who was sobered 
and enlightened when, speaking to a group of soldiers, he sought their 
ideas as to the cardinal sins. He thought they would say gambling, drink- 
ing, impurity, and swearing. He was surprised when they laughed and 
answered: cowardice, selfishness, laziness, and carelessness. Sins of the 
flesh did not shock them as much as sins of the spirit.®^ 

Ario S. Hyams came to the Philippines in July 1944 after six months 
in combat in Holland, Belgium, France and Germany. His was the dis- 
tinction of being the only Jewish chaplain to serve during combat opera- 
tions in both Europe and the Pacific in World War H.^" 

J. M. Bradbury, a Southern Baptist, normally used grape juice in 
Communion services. In Assam on one occasion it was necessary to use 
real wine. "The look on their faces was one of astonishment, when that 
hot wine hit their lips." " 

Deeds of valor, unusual ingenuity and flexibility in accomplishing 
the mission, tenacity, warmth toward, and love of their men, character- 
ized the combat ministry of the chaplains in World War II. Fleet Admiral 
Chester M. Nimitz gave an evaluation and perspective on that ministry 
when he wrote : 

My own esteem for the chaplains is not so much based upon deeds of 
valor as it is of appreciation for their routine accomplishments. No one 
will ever know how many young men were diverted from acts of depres- 
sion by a heart-to-heart talk with the 'padre'. ... By his patient, sympa- 
thetic labors with men, day in day out, and through many a night, every 
chaplain I know contributed immeasurably to the moral courage of our 
fighting men. None of that appears in statistics ... It is for that toil in the 
cause of God and country that I honor the chaplains most.®" 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

164 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

"They Also Serve..." 

Not all of the military ministry in this period was in a combat setting, 
nor were all the stories tales of daring. Chaplain Dier told of a lad who 
wrote home to his mother "that he was where the bombs were the thick- 
est," which was true — in a way. The soldier's job was on the docks, un- 
loading them.'' Charles D. Rice conducted services for the 744th Railway 
Operating Battalion. One evening while the service was in progress at 
Montabrand, France, one of the operators thought that it would be a 
good idea to broadcast the service up and down the line for the benefit 
of the other stations. "All went well until someone up the line decided to 
plug the Dispatcher in on the service. Now anyone who has ever worked 
around a railroad office knows how much a Dispatcher, any Dispatcher, 
would appreciate having his official line obstructed in any way." There 
was general agreement, following the language used, that the Dispatcher 
should have taken time out to go to church somewhere. That ended the 

In Northern Ireland chaplains of the 5th Infantry were in charge of 
twelve Christmas parties held for children 6 to 12 years of age. 3,000 
attended; they included refugees from bombed areas, children whose 
fathers were in service, and others. Soldiers entertained; movies were 
shown, cookies, doughnuts, candy, and a chocolate drink were served; 
toys made by the troops, along with other gifts, were distributed ; Carols 
were sung. Various chaplains attended civilian clergy meetings. Clarence 
Ford represented the Army at the Episcopal Consecration of the Most 
Reverend Eugene O. O 'Dougherty as the new Bishop of Dromore. Clar- 
ence F. Golish addressed the Methodist conference of pastors and lay 
representatives from all the churches in Ireland.'^ 

A Presidential Committee reviewed religion in the service during 
World War II and said that the duties of chaplains included: pastor, or- 
ganizer, counselor, missionary, military officer, and ambassador."' It was 
the latter that was significant in many areas. One priest said that some 
people were pessimistic about the religious life of soldiers overseas. De- 
spite the fact that facilities for Mass and the sacraments were scarcely 
ideal. Catholic chaplains at the front were "few and far-between" yet, 
Gerald Rabe wrote, "English, French, and Belgian priests unanimously 
rave, 'What good Catholics the Yanks are!' For my part I feel that I 
have the Army to thank for a deep and abiding faith in American Youth 
which has been challenged as never before." '' Walter Daib told about a 
service in Germany where there were 160 civilians, and 105 soldiers pres- 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


ent. The soldiers were delighted to hear the German Christmas hymns, 
and a special trio that sang. One German civilian told Daib the next day, 
"If those citizens, who left town with the Germans because they believed 
the German propaganda that the American soldiers were barbarians, 
could only have looked in on the service." ^^ Chaplain Lawrence Hertzog, 
from Oklahoma, was commended for serving temporarily as graves reg- 
istration officer. When he found the officer in charge of that section se- 
verely wounded he took over the leadership to get the men moving in this 
necessary work.^^ 

Training continued throughout the war, even though the experience 
of some included less than ideal conditions. John R. Himes remembered 
parachute training in the 101st Airborne Division in Mourmelon-le-Petit, 
France, a quickie course for men already in combat with the division. It 
consisted of "8 days of P.T., take you up and push you out five times, 
you're qualified." "" Lyman C. Berrett walked 30 miles with his unit at 
Camp Polk, Louisiana, in twelve hours; he gave the credit to an Irish drill 
sergeant at Harvard who lectured the chaplain students on obedience, 
promptly marched them into the Charles River in water up to their arm- 
pits, left them standing for five minutes, then gave them about face and 
marched them out. He marched them until their new shoes dried; to their 
amazement, the shoes fit like gloves. ^'^^ When Masao Yamada was in train- 
ing for combat duty at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, the newspapers picked 
up his story because he was the first Hawaii chaplain of Japanese ances- 
try to enter the armed forces. A Congregationalist, 36 years old, Yamada 
said, "God and guns will win the war for the United Nations." His earlier 
studies took him to Tokyo for seven years where he had a ringside seat 
during "the militarists' attempt to assassinate Emperor Hirohito and set 
up a strictly military government." ^°^ A climate of suspicions surrounded 
Japanese-Americans, and their loyalty was questioned after the Pearl 
Harbor sneak attack ; however, units of Japanese-Americans distinguished 
themselves in combat in Europe. 

When a bomber crashed in flames in England, setting a fire to a two 
story brick barracks, Chaplain William J. Zink, a citation read, "with 
complete disregard for his own personal safety rushed into the building 
to search for trapped men. He was eventually forced to leave because of 
the dense smoke and fumes from the fire. Although his hands were burned 
he re-entered the building . . . with a gas mask and helmet in an attempt 
to reach a trapped man that he had located." He gave last rites to the 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

246-684 O - 78 - 12 

166 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

men who were killed in the crash and assisted medical personnel in ex- 
tricating bodies from the wreckage of the bomber.^"' 

The Ministry To Prisoners Of War 

The Chaplains who worked with German, Italian, and Japanese 
prisoners of war discovered how deeply implanted was the ideology of 
their respective governments. As prisoners discovered the real nature of 
the enemy and the truth about how the war progressed, they became 
victims of a belief vacuum. The chaplains tried to lead them to religious 
faith. Several chaplains reported that wounded prisoners thought they 
would be killed, and learned through acts of kindness by chaplains that 
the captors could be trusted. Orlando V, Hayne told of a Nazi pilot who 
thought the medics were trying to poison him when they gave him 
plasma; Hayne was able to calm him down."* Albert J. Hoffman spoke 
German and was assigned the task of questioning prisoners in Tunisia. 
He felt his presence would insure proper treatment of the men. On the 
Italian front he saw a party of civilians come to kill a wounded German 
with their knives; Hoffman threw them out and set a guard. '°^ Anton 
Egger, a German clergyman, was a prisoner of the Americans at Camp 
Maxey. When he returned to Innsbruck after the war he wrote a letter 
thanking the chaplains for their kindness. When he came in contact 
"with many who had to undergo the same misfortune of capture, but in 
other hands and at other places — I really learned to appreciate how 
fortunate I was." "" 

Albert R. H. Miller saw "Hitler's Supermen" as ragged men and 
boys boarding a transport ship as prisoners. He reported mixed feelings : 
"It was a feeling of antagonism because of what they represented, of pity 
because they had been wounded and were prisoners of war, away from 
home and loved ones, even as we." He saw them as proper subjects of 
evangelism. Miller felt that while they were prisoners they would be 
shown the advantage of democracy over dictatorship ; of forgiveness over 
revenge. "The impressions they get of us while here will do more to 
educate them in the democratic way of life than a year's lectures on the 
meaning of democracy." He reported 85% of the prisoners attended 
service, the others being too sick."' John W. Handy, Jr. reported minister- 
ing to POW's with the help of prisoner ministers."® Hiro Higuchi had an 
interesting and perhaps unique experience. 10,000 Japanese prisoners 
"came to service, not because of my message, but just to observe a 
Japanese-American chaplain preach in English, and a Caucasian minister 
interpret the sermon in Japanese." "^ John O. Fisher reported that his 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


Jewish assistant was of great value in working with German prisoners at 
the hospital. He was "fluent in Yiddish, which they took to be lousy 
German. But they understood it." ^'° Arthur J. Doege, a Missouri Synod 
Lutheran, wrote, "With hard work I had excellent attendance, instruc- 
tions every night and nearly 1,800 baptisms. I had the confidence of men 
confined and was used by the CO to quell riots." He worked with German 
POW's at Camp Edwards from 1943 to 1945."' 

The Execution Of A Private 

An event which went by almost unnoticed at the time was the 
execution of Private Eddie D. Slovik, ASN 39896415. Records of the 
Seventh Army Chaplain section showed that Slovik "was shot to death 
by musketry because of conviction by Courts-Martial for desertion to 
avoid hazardous duty." Carl P. Cummings, a Catholic chaplain, was 
assigned to look after the spiritual needs of the prisoner and the official 
report concluded: "The condemned man's composure at his execution 
gave evidence of the thorough preparation given him by Chaplain 
Cummings." "" 

Edward L. R. Elson, ranking chaplain of XXIst Corps, was sent 
by Lieutenant General Frank W. Milburn, "to attend as my representative 
and give me a full report." "^ Chaplains Ralph E. Smith and Lloyd 
E. Langford were also witnesses. 

Elson wrote thirty years later that it was the assignment he liked 
least in his military career."' As a priest, Cummings did not feel 
responsible to challenge the legality of the sentence, but saw his duty 
and responsibility to prepare a communicant for death. Slovik also felt 
this was the proper relationship between himself and Cummings, and 
remarked that he was more fortunate than the men in the line, because 
he knew when he was to die and had time to make his peace \vith God. 
He attended confession and a private mass. On the day of the execution 
he appeared to observers to be the bravest man on the field. Cummings 
said later that for two thousand years the Catholic church had been 
supplying what Eddie Slovik needed on the day of his death. "From 
where else can a little man find strength?" "^ 

The Last Mass Execution In The US 

Even less publicized at the time than the Slovik case was the last 
mass execution in the United States, carried out at the United States 
Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on 25 August 1945. 
Werner Drechsler, a young German sailor from a submarine, cooperated 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

168 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

with his American captors by providing mihtary information when 
questioned. The other German prisoners found out about it but were 
moved to a different camp. Later Drechsler was sent to this camp to 
rejoin his fellow ship-mates. The other prisoners could not believe the 
Americans capable of such stupidity, and interpreted this as permission 
to take revenge on Drechsler, who in their view was clearly a traitor. 
They rushed him one night in his bunk, carried him to the shower room 
where they hanged him after a quick kangaroo court had "convicted" 
him. Seven prisoners were sentenced to hang for the murder of Drechsler 
and sent to Leavenworth. 

Chaplain John Sagar and Chaplain George Towle became well 
acquainted with the condemned men. The execution of the sentence 
was delayed as plans to exchange them for American prisoners of war 
bogged down. Towle spoke excellent German, worked extensively with 
the prisoners and knew them better than anyone else. Richard 
Whittingham wrote of the ministry of Towle, a priest, "It was a meeting 
with someone who did not represent war or violence or punishment, 
someone who wanted to talk about . . . home and families, their feeling 
and ideas ..." The men sensed that this was their first contact in several 
years with a milder, more civilized world. Besides bringing a 
humanitarian concern for their well being, Towle ministered to their 
spiritual needs and helped them face the facts of their impending deaths. 
On the day of their executions several of the prisoners publically thanked 
the authorities for the presence and ministry of Chaplain George Towle. ^^"^ 

Bibles In World War II 

Bibles and Scripture portions played a large part in the ministry of 
chaplains, and many stories about Bibles form a part of the legend of 
World War II. A number of stories persisted about men whose lives were 
saved when a bullet struck their Bible and was embedded in its pages. An 
Army lieutenant wrote his sister in Pennsylvania about such an incident. 
"As I reached for my carbine, a shot struck me in the breast and blasted 
me down. Thinking I was dead, my pal . . . was amazed when I rolled 
over and tried to get up ... I pulled that little Bible out of my pocket 
and ... I looked at the ugly hole in its cover." It had ripped from Genesis 
to Psalm 91. 

"A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right 
hand ; but it shall not come nigh thee." 

It was signed "Your loving brother, George," and appeared on the 
bulletin board at Patterson Field, Dayton, Ohio, in a California 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


newspaper, and The Army and Navy Chaplain.^^' The story, or similar 
ones, gained wide circulation and a Bible with stainless steel covers 
became popular. 

Roger P. Melton found that reading the Bible, rather than carrying 
it, could have a good outcome. He was wounded in the throat by shrapnel. 
The metal fragment was so lodged that doctors feared to operate because 
of permanent damage to his voice. For a time he was unable to speak 
above a whisper. One Sunday afternoon sitting on his bed reading the 
Bible, the chaplain was seized with a fit of coughing. The fragment was 
spit out, and his voice returned. His only complaint was difficulty in 
reaching high notes while singing. ^^^ 

A famous Bible story of World War H involved Captain Eddie 
Rickenbacker, a former race car driver. World War I flying ace, and 
later an airline executive. His aircraft went down in the Pacific, and 
Rickenbacker and his crew were adrift on life rafts for 21 days. Johnny 
Bartek, a crew member, had a New Testament, and watching him read it 
inspired all the men to become more familiar with the Scriptures. They 
held morning and evening prayers and passed the Book around, and each 
in turn found a meaningful passage to read aloud. The story is a 
fascinating one; a seagull landed on the head of one man in answer to 
their prayers for food and was quickly eaten; when they had no fresh 
water, rain came from heaven *'against the wind" and quenched their 
thirst. One passage they read daily: "Therefore take no thought saying. 
What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or. Wherewithal shall we be 
clothed? . . . But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His 
righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you . . . . " (Mat. 

The story was given much publicity, and Bartek donated his 
Testament to the American Bible Society. This led to the development 
by that organization of "The Life Raft Packet." The Gospel of St. 
Matthew in the King James Version for Protestants ; the same Gospel in 
the Douay Version for Catholics; and the Psalms (Courtesy of the Jewish 
Publishing Society) for Jews, were sealed in waterproof containers and, 
through the War Shipping Administration, placed on every life raft and 
fife boat of every merchant vessel. 145,000 of these packets were 
produced. An additional 40,000 New Testaments (complete) were 
placed in waterproof containers aboard aircraft and in survival gear. The 
American Bible Society felt these projects summed up the society's basic 
purpose which, "seeks to supply the Scriptures effectively to persons who 
otherwise might not have them."^"° 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

170 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

The biggest Bible story in terms of numbers and influence came as a 
result of a letter from a woman in Iowa to the President of the United 
States, ten days after the Selective Service Act became effective: 

Ayrshire, Iowa 
October 26, 1940 
President Roosevelt: 

I was recently reading how that King George of England gives 
a New Testament to every man who dons the uniform, with a 
testimony of his faith written in each one. Now I truly believe God 
will honor such faith and I believe that England as long as she honors 
God thus, will never be conquered. 

I think it would be timely if our president would do likewise 
and place a Testament in the hands of conscripted men. Perhaps 
many would give their lives to Christ and the prayers of faith would 
save our country from war. It would be a God honoring thing to do 
and all Christians would support you 100% and you would reap 
eternal reward. I'm a great believer in prayer and in God and hope 
you are too. 

Sincerely in Him 
Mrs. Evelyn Kohlstedt 
Ayrshire, Iowa 

Such are the ways of the American system of government that this 
simple letter set in motion a chain of events that led to the government 
printing of eleven million Testaments for men in the armed forces. Every 
serviceman was furnished with a Testament if he desired it.^"^ The 
Protestant New Testament was the King James Version, the Catholic was 
the Stedman arrangement of the New Testament, and the Jewish 
Testament was a collection of readings selected by the Committee of 
Religious Activities of the Jewish Welfare Board from a Scripture version 
of the Jewish Publication Society of America. 

On the flyleaf of each Testament was this foreward from the 
President : 

The White House 
March 6, 1941 

To the Members of the Army : 

As Commander-in-Chief I take pleasure in commending the 
reading of the Bible to all who serve in the armed forces of the 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


United States. Throughout the centuries men of many faiths and 
diverse origins have found in the Sacred Book words of wisdom, 
counsel, and inspiration. It is a fountain of strength and now as 
always, an aid in attaining the highest aspirations of the human 


Very Sincerely Yours 
Franklin D. Roosevelt 

The postscript in each Army Testament had a message from the 

Chief of Chaplains: 

Do you know your chaplain? This copy of the Scriptures 
should initiate and promote a warm friendship between you and 
your chaplain. He has studied the Word of God for years and uses 
it daily for his own strength and comfort, and for the instruction 
of others. His love for the Scriptures makes him your friend and 
guide. When he counsels you he speaks with knowledge and char- 
ity found in this little volume. A soldier who knows the Word of 
God and honestly tries to observe His laws is a man of power and 
influence among his fellows and exalts his military service to the 
high level of religious faith, courage and loyalty. 

William R. Arnold 
Chief of Chaplains 

The American Bible Society, the Gideons, and the Pocket Testa- 
ment League were the leading civilian organizations that distributed 
Scriptures. The American Bible Society gave Bibles and Scripture por- 
tions to prisoners of war and internees in the United States, supplied 
pulpit Bibles to Army Chapels, gave briefings and materials to the chap- 
plain students at Harvard, and sent thousands of Testaments to Ameri- 
cans who were prisoners of the Germans and Japanese. 3,036 Bibles 
went to Chaplain Leigh Wright aboard the Queen Mary, for distribu- 
tion to British War Brides. So close was the relationship of this organiza- 
tion to the chaplains that when rationing of paper was instituted by the 
War Production Board, additional paper was secured from the allot- 
ment allowed to the Chiefs of Chaplains of the Army and Navy. Paper 
was a problem since the American Bible Society printed New Testa- 
ments at the rate of 9,000 a day by November 1942. The Gideon 
Society supplied aroundt 25,000 a month. In 8/2 years of the War 
Emergency Fund the American Bible Society supplied 2,909,355 Bibles, 
Testaments, and portions to POWs alone, at a cost of $317,979.65. In 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

172 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

1945 they distributed 2,749,074 Bibles, Testaments and portions to 
American armed forces personnel.'" 

Other Literature 

Devotional guides were popular during the war years. Alvin R. 
Nygaard's Service for God and Country was widely distributed. Alva J. 
Brasted's Service to Servicemen brought a comment from Chaplain 
Arnold that it was "worth its weight in gold." The Prayer Book for 
Eastern Orthodox Christians was published by the YMCA. The Upper 
Room was popular in a pocket edition and a quarter of a million copies 
went to servicemen in 1943. The Christian Science Monitor appeared 
on chapel reading racks. Reveille, a small paper slanted to servicemen, 
was inspirational and humorous. Our Sunday Visitor, Link, and many 
other denominational magazines and devotional guides were distributed 
by chaplains. Guidance from the Chief's office recommended careful 
monitoring of all literature, pamphlets and tracts to make sure that 
controversial material that attacked the faith of others was excluded. 
Dr. Marion Creeger of the YMCA-USO was visiting on the West Coast 
when he saw a woman distributing small copies of Sallman's "Head of 
Christ." He remembered an anonymous statement of Christ's life en- 
titled "One Solitary Life," and a card was produced with the picture on 
one side and the text on the other. It became one of the most popular 
items and two and one-half million copies were distributed through 
chaplains and others.'"^ 

The Hymnal, Army and Navy, and The Song and Service Book, 
Army and Navy for Field and Ship replaced the earher hymnal that was 
in use for 20 years. Ivan L. Bennet was chosen by the Chief to head the 
project. 1,675 chaplains, clergymen and musicians were polled as to 
which hymns were the most popular. The hymns with the most votes 
were included. The Song and Service Book was intended for use in the 
field and each chaplain received 150 copies. By the end of the war 
10,000,000 copies were printed. Hymns From Home, a leaflet which 
contained the words of 13 most-used hymns, was given to chaplains for 
use overseas. Each package of 5 leaflets contained one pamphlet with 
the music. Twelve packages were distributed to each overseas chaplain. 
One million copies were inserted in emergency ration cartons by the 
Quartermaster. The initial printing of 3 million copies in 1943 was soon 
exhausted and another printing of 2 million followed."' 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


Distinguished Visitors 

American civilian clergy and public were concerned with the spir- 
itual welfare of the citizen soldier. The desire of many prominent clergy- 
men was to go and see for themselves how "our boys" were getting along. 
To give some order and control to this program of visitation, General 
Marshall made it clear that the Chief of Chaplains would be in charge 
of clearing visitors. He approved visits by a limited number of civilian 
clergymen selected by the General Commission on Chaplains, The Mili- 
tary Ordinate, and the Jewish Welfare Board.' "" Accordingly, some 
prominent clergy were invited by the President to tour the theaters of 
war and bring him a report. 

Action This Day chronicled the 100,000 miles traveled by Arch- 
bishop Spellman in his visits to chaplains and troops. The book began as 
letters to his father, but later was published as a report to the people on 
how their sons, fathers, brothers, and sisters were doing. He left on 
9 February 1943, after reporting to the President that he was vaccinated 
against cholera, smallpox, typhus, yellow fever, typhoid, paratyphoid, 
and tetanus. Spellman met with the British Prime Minister and reported, 
"Mr. Churchill said that he is a man of faith," who believed that the 
Almighty God saved England in several critical situations ; he named the 
failure of the Germans to follow up on their success at Dunkirk, the 
calm sea which prevailed for the first day in many weeks at the time of 
the invasion of North Africa, and several other occurrences of like 
moment. '^° Spellman spoke at numerous chaplain conferences, celebrated 
Mass, and visited civilians and military of all ranks. He visited Europe 
again in 1944, and in 1945 made an extensive visit to Europe and the Far 
East.^" He wrote of meetings with various chaplains, including William 
Walsh and Patrick Ryan in North Africa. "Nothing in my trip gives me 
greater pleasure than these informal visits with the chaplains — the fulfill- 
ment of the purpose of my journey." "^ 

Bishop Adna W. Leonard, Chairman of the General Commission on 
Chaplains, made a similar trip to visit chaplains and other military in 
Europe in April 1943. After visiting a number of installations in Great 
Britain, Leonard, escorted by Chaplain Frank L. Miller and in the com- 
pany of General Andrews, flew to Iceland. As it attempted a landing in 
fog, the plane crashed into a rocky hill and killed all members of the 
party except one enlisted man. Dr. William Barrow Pugh, a chaplain in 
World War I, was chosen to succeed Leonard and arrangements were 
made for him to complete the tour planned by his predecessor. Deputy 
Chief of Chaplains, George F. Rixey, served as his military aide.^^® 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

174 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

Bishop John Andrew Gregg represented the Fraternal Council of 
Negro Churches of America in a visit of encouragement and inspiration. 
Accompanied by Chaplain John A. DeVeaux, Gregg made an extended 
trip through Australia and the Pacific, and later toured installations in 
Europe, Asia, and Africa. The color line was first encountered in Natal, 
where the law would not permit him to stay at a hotel. Trying to stay 
within the law, yet not embarrass a representative of the President, 
arrangements were made for him to stay in a hospital maintained by 
American Congregationalists. He delighted his hosts by a remark that it 
was appropriate for him to stay in a hospital because, after traveling 
around the world, he discovered he was suffering from "an incurable 
case of malignant pigmentation." "° Bishop Gregg was impressed with 
the fairness with which he saw black troops treated, and was "delighted 
to see them operating machinery which heretofore they had no oppor- 
tunity to learn to operate. Far from being broken and embittered by this 
army service, they are acquiring skills which will make them more useful 
citizens when the war is ended." "^ His optimistic assessment of the treat- 
ment of black soldiers may have been naive, or cognizant of the fact 
that the folks at home needed reassurance in wartime more than they 
needed racial confrontation and discussion. The Bishop did not use this 
opportunity to confront the system. 

The Jewish Welfare Board organized the Committee on Army and 
Navy Religious Activities with representatives of Orthodox, Conservative 
and Reform groups. Dr. Philip S. Bernstein, chairman of the committee, 
wrote: "The entire chaplaincy situation presents this paradox. Most of 
the men in the military services are Orthodox ; most of the chaplains are 
Reform, most of the services are Conservative." "" Dr. Bernstein visited 
the Far East, and Mr. Walter Rothschild and Dr. Barnett Bricker visited 
Europe and North Africa. Their observations, and those made by other 
official visitors, led to improvement in Jewish coverage."^ 

Other distinguished clergy visitors included Dr. Daniel Poling, Editor 
of the Christian Herald and President of the World Christian Endeavor 
Union; Bishop Henry Knox Sherrill, Chairman of the General Commis- 
sion; Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam, President of the Federal Council of 
Churches; and Bishop Garber of the World Council of Churches."* 

Helping Agencies 

The chaplains had help doing their jobs. The role of church indors- 
ing agencies was discussed earlier, as was the work of the American Bible 
Society and other societies that furnished religious literature. At His Side 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


was an extensive history of the Work of the American Red Cross overseas 
in World War II."' By 0755 on 7 December 1941 the Red Cross Canteen 
was operating at Pearl Harbor. 1 1 ,000,000 pints of blood, almost one pint 
for every man and woman in the armed services, was collected through 
the blood donor program. A statistically minded person calculated that 
for three years after Pearl Harbor blood was collected at the rate of six 
pints per minute."*^ The Red Cross gave stationery and "comfort items" 
to chaplains for distribution. Joint programs, facilities, and equipment 
were utilized at many posts. A Field Director said of Chaplain Charles I. 
Carpenter, for instance, that he "is friendly to Red Cross and keenly 
interested in our work . . . we have had his full cooperation at all 
times." "^ Sight seeing trips were organized by chaplains in conjunction 
with the Red Cross or Special Services. The presence of female Red Cross 
workers helped morale."® 

Similarly, the YMCA was a friend to chaplains, and many joint pro- 
grams were worked out. The YMCA. Film Exchange supported the chap- 
lains with outstanding films such as "The World We Want To Live In," 
"Journey Into Faith," and others of a patriotic, religious, or entertain- 
ment nature. They supplied religious literature and invited chaplains 
regularly to hold services in their facilities."^ The United Services Or- 
ganization (USO) provided service centers in numerous military areas, 
and some denominations and individual congregations sponsored centers. 
The Holy Name Society, the Guardians of America, The Society of 
Christian Endeavor, and the Servicemen's Christian League, were pro- 
grams used by chaplains to provide fellowship, devotion, evangelism and 
education.^" Thousands of volunteer workers from churches and syna- 
gogues gave blood ; became drivers, hostesses, and dancing partners ; knit- 
ted scarves; served doughnuts and coffee; wrote letters; collected scrap 
iron and tin cans ; bought war bonds and stamps ; prayed for and talked 
with men and women away from home. They cared, and hung flags in 
the window with blue service stars that sometimes tragically turned to 
gold to signify the death of a person in service. Everyone knew "there's a 
war on," a popular wartime phrase, and most did something about it. 

Chaplain's Assistants 

Not until World War II were chaplain's assistants provided by regu- 
lation, and the regulation was followed in most cases as policy. AR 60-5 
stipulated that the commanding oflficer would provide chaplains with 
assistants. Training Manual 12-427 classified the assistant as a clerk- 
typist (MOS 405) and most tables of organization provided for a tech- 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

176 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

nician with a grade of 5 ; later, higher levels of command allowed higher 
grades. A continuing morale problem was the extremely able assistant 
who could not be promoted in his unit and remain as an assistant. Many, 
out of loyalty to the job, refused promotion. 

The Chaplain's assistant was not the chaplain's orderly nor an as- 
sistant chaplain. His duties were to drive and maintain a jeep and trailer; 
typing, play the organ and lead a choir; carry a weapon to protect him- 
self and his chaplain; set up the altar for Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish 
services, maintain records and prepare reports. The nature of the work 
required assistants who were intelligent, efficient, and of unquestioned 
moral stature. In many cases assistants were supplied who were the multi- 
talented persons of chaplains' fantasies. In other cases they were not pro- 
vided at all, or were problem children, misfits, given to the chaplain as a 
challenge.'" Kenneth L. Ames said of his assistant, "His uniqueness was 
that he was in a sense my passport to the troops. He helped me to know 
intimately what they were thinking, their state of morale, etc. . . . He 
couldn't play an organ, had only a high school education, but he was a 
priceless asset to me." "" 

Sometimes they felt apart from the men; Kenneth A. Connelly, Jr., 
a college graduate and talented musician, wrote home about "the com- 
mon man" one meets in the barracks: "How can we expect an intelligently 
directed democracy in a nation where the average male adult finds his 
favorite reading in a comic book . . . beauty in hill-billy songs, burlesque 
and peep show magazines . . . philosophy in a bottle of liquor?" "^ Despite 
such observations Connelly's real concern for the men brought a com- 
mendation from his commanding officer. Colonel T. A. Pedley, Jr. and 
Connelly wrote of those in the Battle of the Bulge . . . "the boys in the 
foxholes are showing a heroism almost beyond belief in the face of the 
greatest suffering." "^ 

Sergeant Stanley T. Purdy was a twenty-five-year-old assistant for 
William F. King. King had so many close calls in combat that Purdy 
complained he aged twenty years, which made him forty five, "and too 
old for the Army." Purdy said "I thought driving a chaplain around was 
going to be an easy job." '*^ 

Two assistants were killed on 7 December 1941, the first day of the 
war, as the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor."" A. Jewish assistant in the 
XVIII Corps (Airborne) chaplain's section was killed when the vehicle 
he drove hit a mine in April 1945."' Specific statistics were not kept since 
the assistants were lumped together by military occupational specialty 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


with all other clerk-typists. Beyond clerk-typist school, about the only 
training for assistants was on-the-job experience; there were a few con- 
ference-type schools, none exceeding one week. In 1944 the Army Air 
Force started a school in San Antonio which offered a two week course."^ 
The definitive work on chaplain's assistants in the Army has not been 
written, though some literature is available. ^^^ One official report said: 

Tribute should be paid to chaplain assistants without whose energy 
the chaplains could not have carried on. In addition to their regular 
duties they were carpenters, common stone masons, landscape engineers. 
. . . The good humor and patience of a chaplain's assistant were often a 
boon to the chaplain's morale. ^^° 

One assistant who struggled with a folding altar, a portable organ, 
communion kit, hymnal chest, and public address system turned to his 
chaplain and asked, "Sir, didn't Jesus travel lighter than this?" ^"^ 

Conscientious Objectors 

The conscience of some men did not permit them to serve in the 
Army in any capacity. Civilian Public Service Camps were organized by 
the churches so that men could perform 'Svork of national importance" 
approved by the Selective Service, such as reforestation, forest fire fight- 
ing, soil erosion control, and reclamation. The Congress did not pay any- 
thing toward this program, which grew to 50 camps and 8,000 men. 
Ninety percent of the money to operate the program came from the 
churches. The Society of Friends, Church of the Brethren and the Men- 
nonite Church (historic peace churches) carried the heaviest responsibil- 
ity for the program. 

The courage of these objectors to war was demonstrated when they 
volunteered as "guinea pigs" for various medical and dietary experi- 
ments, and served as "smoke jumpers" (parachute fire fighters) . A news- 
paper. The Conscientious Objector, was published in New York. A 
magazine. The Compass, was published by the General Assembly of the 
Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. These organs carried 
news of CO camps at Coleville, California, Ambler, Pennsylvania, Seeley 
Lake, Montana, etc. These men were classified IV-E, and were con- 
sidered in compliance with the law. 

Men who reported for duty with the Army but would not bear arms 
were interviewed by chaplains; most were assigned duties as medics, 
where they distinguished themselves in combat by their aid to the 
wounded, often at the risk of their own lives. They could not be assigned 
as chaplain's assistants because the duties of that job required bearing 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

178 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

arms. Others served in transportation, clerical, special services, and 
quartermaster jobs. Many counseling sessions resulted when these men 
were assigned guard duty and appealed to chaplains for help in their 
predicaments of conscience. 

Popular Religion — Foxholes And Atheists 

The crisis of war made many a man turn to fundamental faith in 
God in which he found strength and vision for the demands to be faced. 
Men confronting the possibility of death, caught up in a global war over 
which they personally had little or no control, realized they needed 
resources of faith which they had but slightly tapped before. 

What did leaders and followers believe? How "real" was the religion 
of the soldier? Was there a turning toward or from traditional faith? 
How effective were the chaplains in their primary mission of bringing 
man to God and God to man? Was it Christianity and Judaism that were 
embraced, or a kind of blurred common denominator popular blend of 
faith and patriotism called "Americanism"? 

A favorite saying in the period, "There are no atheists in fox holes," 
was addressed by many chaplains in correspondence, interviews, question- 
naires, and published books and articles. There was no wave of religious 
conversion to support this saying. Almost all the chaplains who addressed 
the subject observed that religious faith was not usually found in the 
stress of combat. Rather, religious teachings that men already had 
embraced were a source of strength, and the time of peril made more 
dramatic their calling upon them. There was a new awareness on the 
part of servicemen and women of the resources which religion had to 
offer, and a sensitivity to the cogency and relevancy of religious teachings 
to the peculiar environment of which they were a part. 

While men attended chapel services, drew upon their personal 
resources of faith, and found a new depth of religious experience, this 
was not necessarily related to any denominational group. Dr. Dan Poling, 
one of the distinguished clergy visitors to the world's battlefronts, said in 
December 1943: 

On all the fronts where I have gone since August 1941 from 
England to North Africa, from South America to Egypt, India, and 
China, and in the camps at home, two things more than all others have 
troubled me, two things not good for America. First, positive bitterness 
against organized labor (perhaps I should write: against leaders of 
organized labor). Second, overwhelming indifference to organized 
religion. ^^^ 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


The reference to labor concerned the strikes at home in essential 
industries, when servicemen faced serious shortages of equipment — or 
the fear of such shortages. The second point made by Dr. Poling is not as 
easily identified in terms of cause and effect. Poling meant that men in 
the stress of combat sought fundamentals of faith, and they were not 
particularly interested in the organized church as such. He was concerned 
whether the civilian church would have a faith as vital as that found by 
men flying the lonely skies or fighting in the foxholes. 

Gill Robb Wilson after his 1944 visit in England wrote, "No one 
could tell me what effect the war was having on the spiritual life of men. 
All were certain that the average member of a fighting crew took con- 
stant refuge in prayer. No one had ever heard an airman scoff at religion." 
And Air Chaplain Carpenter wrote, "I know of no minister ... in the 
chaplaincy who was looked down upon because he was true to the ideals 
of his profession." ^^^ 

It is safe to conclude that there was no real opposition either in 
the service or the civilian community to the work of chaplains in World 
War II. Many soldiers embraced "popular religion" in the form of carry- 
ing a rabbit's foot or other good luck charm; wore religious medals 
which they endowed with only half thought, through beliefs; or adopted a 
fatalism reflected in "If your number is up, your number is up." Men 
carried Bibles in their pockets who never carried them before. 

Feelings of God's presence and aid became a very common theme. 
Colonel Robert Scott wrote a famous war book, God Is My Co-Pilot. 
The story of Captain Eddie Rickenbacker's crash landing in the Pacific 
inspired three books, Seven Came Through, We Thought We Heard the 
Angels Sing, and Life Out There. In these books, and in many statements 
of personal faith there was a closeness to God, almost chumminess. One 
pilot said, "We still fly our raids with the firm faith that God is riding 
our ship — sometimes you can actually see and hear him." Technical 
Sergeant Joseph Monfort said, "I never felt as close to God as I did over 
there. It was every living, breathing moment of day and nite, and He 
would be there to 'just chew the fat' with me." Lt. Robert Trenkle said, 
"When I am in combat, I just call on God to look after me. There is 
nothing for me to worry about. All I have to do from then on is just do 
my job. If He wants me to come back. He'll get me through." ^"^ 

Many pilots and aircrew men felt they owed their lives to their faith 
in God. Captain M. L. Vinson of Houston, Texas, piloted a Flying 
Fortress on a raid over Germany. The plane was hit several times and 
there were at least two bad explosions inside the aircraft. Two engines 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

180 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

were dead and die ship was wobbling badly and losing altitude. He 
ordered his ten shipmates to bail out, but at the last minute decided to 
bring the ship in although he would not allow his crew to take the risk 
involved. When he landed he said "The Man Upstairs brought me 
down. I talked to him plenty — and He must have heard me. You see the 
chips were down!" Clifford Anderson made a blind emergency landing 
at night when his own life and the lives of several civilians were at stake. 
He reported, "I never would have attempted a landing there in day- 
light — it wasn't humanly possible . . . The Lord did it for me." ^^^ Simi- 
lar stories of rescue, dehverance and religious faith can be found in every 
theatre of the war. 

The theological fine points of what happened to those who believed 
just as strongly and lost their lives, whether God does in fact ride in a 
machine whose mission is to rain down death from the skies, and 
whether God was on America's side, were not deeply examined. Neither 
did some see the incongruity in the story told by Chaplain Roy M. 
Terry, about the time he heard a terriffic amount of profanity outside 
his chapel hut in North Africa; upon investigation he discovered the 
men were building an altar to surprise him. In many disciplines there is 
the authentic and the distorted — so it was with popular religion. Some- 
times they were inextricably mixed. 

The Final Days of War 

As the war continued in Europe and the Pacific there were some 
changes in the Chief of Chaplain's Office. On 7 December 1944 a unique 
promotion ceremony took place. Chaplain George F. Rixey pinned the 
second star on Chaplain William R. Arnold, making him the first 
chaplain to hold the rank of Major General. Then Arnold reciprocated 
by pinning a star on Rixey, which established the grade of Brigadier 
General for the Deputy Chief of Chaplains.'^*^ 

On 1 April 1945 the War Department announced that Arnold, 
whose eight-year tour as Chief was soon to expire, was designated As- 
sistant Inspector General in the Office of the Inspector General.'" 
Chaplain (Brigadier General Luther D. Miller replaced him as Chief 
of Chaplains. Rixey also was moved to the Office of the Inspector Gen- 
eral and replaced by the former Commandant of the Chaplain School, 
William D. Cleary. Cleary, a Catholic, served as Deputy to Miller, an 
Episcopalian. Thus the custom initiated by Arnold, that a Catholic 
Chief had a Protestant Deputy, and vice versa, was continued. 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


Luther D. Miller had twenty-six years of service when nominated 
to be Chief of Chaplains; the last thirty-three months of that were in 
the Pacific as Sixth Army Chaplain. A native of Leesburg, Pennsylvania, 
a graduate of Thiel College in Greenville, Pennsylvania, and of Chicago 
Theological Seminary, he entered Army service in August 1918. Miller 
served in prewar China, Hawaii, Fort Sam Houston, and Columbia, 
South Carolina; in World War II, he served in Austraha, New Guinea, 
and the Philippines.''^ 

While promotions were going on at the top there was some dissatis- 
faction a little further down the line. Promotion policy was unequal, 
especially overseas. Chaplains came on duty as first lieutenants and 
could be promoted to captain easily and quickly in the United States, 
but much more slowly in theaters outside the country. This caused 
morale problems when chaplain captains arrived from the States with 
less time in the Army than some chaplain lieutenants had in combat. 
By the end of the war, promotion to the grade of captain was usual for 
any chaplain who had served any length of time. 

Grades higher than captain were reserved for those in supervisory 
positions. Promotion to field grade was dependent on serving in an au- 
thorized position division level or higher, calling for supervisory respon- 
sibilities over other chaplains. Overseas "spot promotions" could be 
given to chaplains assigned to such positions. What this meant in actual 
practice was that a chaplain assigned to a line unit calling for a captain 
would stay in that grade, perhaps throughout the war. But a chaplain 
might be assigned to a headquarters that expanded, and expanded 
again, so that a chaplain like Carpenter in the Air Forces went from cap- 
tain to colonel in fifteen months! This led some wags to erect a sign in 
front of the officer's club : 

Young colonels of the Air Force under 2 1 years of age will not be 
admitted to the bar unless accompanied by a parent. 

Jorgensen stated: 

Actually, staff chaplains had too wide an area for supervision and 
many company grade chaplains held staff responsibility. . . . To have 
doubled the number of field grade chaplains would have provided a 
better promotion program, closer supervision, and enhanced status. ^^® 

Late in 1944 Chief of Chaplains Arnold selected the musical 
composition "Soldiers of God" as the official chaplain march. It was 
first introduced to radio audiences by Bing Crosby on his Easter 
broadcast over the NBC network. Jacob Sampson Payton said of it, 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

246-684 O - 78 - 13 

182 TTIE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

^'The official march is no more martial than 'Onward Christian Sol- 
diers'. Its words breathe no lust for vengeance, no appeal to war and no 
glorification of war." ^*'° Words of the song follow: 

Faithful to God, 

We're serving on the battlefield today. 
Embracing: the cause of Ri.ghteousness, 
We're marching on our way. 

Soldiers of God, 

We serve Him faithfully, 

And march in His name thru thunder and flame 

Wherever the "Call" may be. 

Trusting in God, 

His strength we lean upon, 

As into the fight the Legions of Light, 

The Soldiers of God, march on. 

We are there, as the chaplains of the nation, 

Ev'rywhere with our fighting congregation, 

Serving the Lord, 

And serving the cause of humanity. 

Onward we go till victory is won, 

For Justice and Right the Legions of Light 

The Soldiers of God march on! 

Burial of the dead with appropriate honors was a real concern of 
chaplains. Every effort was made to see that each soldier was buried in 
the appropriate manner of his faith. The Arabs were impressed when a 
chaplain and his party made a long trek into the Atlas Mountains to 
bring out the bodies of airmen. In Australia a party climbed two days 
through briars and jungle vines to reach and bury the bodies of seven 
killed on a high mountain. 

In the summer of 1945, 21 persons met death when their plane 
crashed into the cliffs in New Guinea. A few days later a Catholic and 
a Protestant chaplain flew to the scene. Landing was impossible so they 
dropped crosses and a Star of David to Filipino paratroopers who were 
to dig the graves. While the plane circled the spot, the chaplains recited 
the funeral rituals of their faiths. No Jewish chaplain was available 
within a thousand miles, so one of the chaplains read the service of that 
faith for the Jewish girl who was among the victims. Wallace Hale, on 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


the Italian front, reported the burial of 414 Americans and 168 of the 
enemy in July 1944. Though the figures rose and fell over the months 
that followed he gave each man a separate and appropriate service/" 

As the war came to a close the "living dead" of the prison camps 
were set free. Among them were civilian clergy and chaplains. The work 
the chaplains did with former prisoners and displaced persons was vital, 
but shocked them to the depths of their souls. 

Robert L. Schock visited a concentration camp at Ludwigslust. 
The camp held French, Poles, Italians and "was offensive to nose, eye, 
and heart. Men lay dying from starvation, illness, and inhumane treat- 
ment, too weak in fact, to dispose of their own bodily excretions. When 
the able ones heard Mass was going to be said, they shed tears of grati- 
tude." On 8 May burial services were held with townspeople forced to 
attend. Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish chaplains were present, and 
services were amplified with loudspeakers and conducted in German 
and English.^^' 

The Jewish chaplains felt more personally than most a special in- 
terest in the wretched people of the concentration camps, and were able 
to reach them through a common faith and language. Judah Nadich 
was advisor to General Eisenhower on Jewish Affairs in the European 
Theatre of Operations. His duty included visits to concentration camps 
and DP (Displaced Persons) camps, and he reported directly to 
Eisenhower or his Chief of Staff, Walter B. Smith. Due to the interna- 
tional character of his work he received The Croix De Guerr^ from 
France, Order of The British Empire from Great Britain, and the Aleh 
(Warrior's Medal) from Israel.'"' Nadich said, "The Nazi crime 
against the Jews was without precedence. . . . The Army had not en- 
countered such problems before and was not prepared to cope with 
them .... The Rabbis in uniform were the first to cope with the chaos 
that followed liberation." '"'^ One sobbing survivor called the first 
American Jewish chaplain she saw "a malach fun Gott," an angel sent 
by God. Chaplains Samuel Teitlebaum and Earl S. Stone worked with 
the Jewish Brigade and the Palestinian transport companies in Italy. 
David Max Eichhorn, Samuel Schenck, Herman Dicker, and Aaron 
Tofield worked in France. Isaac Klien, Arthur Brodey, Meyer G. Gold- 
man, Morris A. Sandhaus, Benjamin Gorrelick and Carl Miller \vorked 
in Belgium. Rabbi Gorrelick received 100 packages a week containing 
food, drugs and vitamins, from his congregation in Albany, New York.'*^^ 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

184 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

In Germany the liberators found horrors that were far greater than 
anything beyond the Rhine. There were the gas chambers, dog pits, 
crematoria, mass graves, slave labor camps; and the disease-wracked, 
emaciated survivors, too dazed to comprehend liberation. The problems 
of relief demanded quick solution. Immediate medical attention, food, 
clothing, medicines, and sanitation necessities, were required in vast 
amounts. One of the first requirements in every camp was for information 
about missing relatives. Since no civilian postal system was functioning, 
the chaplains and their assistants forwarded and received mail through 
military channels. Many yearned for religious services so long denied 
them. Prayer books, Torah scrolls, prayer shawls and other articles for 
religious observance were obtained. Jewish chaplains raised funds from 
soldiers; kept records of survivors; traced and reunited families; held 
services; wrote letters; pleaded, cajoled, and goaded commanders into 
speedy action in providing engineer, transportation, quartermaster, and 
medical support. And they acted on their own besides. In some cases 
commanders and senior chaplains were too literalistic in interpreting 
regulations which did not provide for chaplains to minister to foreign 
civilians. Often a chaplain would initiate a program and then be ordered 
to move on with the troops, his primary responsibility.^*"^ 

Ernest Lorge wrote: "We begged, borrowed and — now it can be 
admitted — stole large quantities of clothing so that these victims of Nazi 
madness could discard the rags of their nightmare. . . . There will never 
be an adequate account of what the average chaplain did in the course 
of a single day, . . ." ^^' 

Abraham FefTer, a 17-year-old Jewish lad from Poland, was an 
emaciated "corpse" when rescued by an American Jewish chaplain at 
Dachau, He regained his health, learned English, and became an inter- 
preter for the U.S. forces. He went to the United States, completed his 
education, and joined the Army as a chaplain himself. Ten years after 
his rescue by a chaplain he became one, to "repay a debt for my life." "^ 

Many clergymen were among the prisoners freed. Among them were 
37 Army chaplains, 21 from German prison camps and 16 from Japanese 
camps.^^^ Two chaplains were not allowed to leave the officers' compound 
while prisoners; so, "We wrote sermons, tied them to rocks, and threw 
them across the fence to be read at different times." "" Alfred C. Oliver, 
more than six feet tall, weighed 215 pounds at the time of his capture by 
the Japanese. He lost 100 pounds. Recovering in Walter Reed, he was 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


awarded a Purple Heart for the three times he was beaten into uncon- 
sciousness, and an Oak Leaf Cluster for the rifle butt blow that broke his 
neck. Beri-beri hampered the use of his le,2j. Thous^h his body was broken 
his spirit was not. "... I didn't lose God," he said.''' 

In the prison camps and throughout the Army, there were services 
of thanksgiving for the end of captivity, the completion of a campaign, 
and at long last — the end of the war. In Italy the men of the 88th 
Division held a great service of thanksgiving. Eleven thousand men met 
on a mountainside, sang patriotic hymns, heard an address by their com- 
mander, and separated into services of the three faiths.'' Jacob St. Clair 
Bousum was in the mountains going through cliff-climbing training. 
When they returned to camp they heard the church bells ringing and 
were told Germany was defeated. "Tired and dirty as we were in our 
soiled fatigues . . . conducted right then and there the most spontaneous 
service of prayer, praise, and thanksgiving of all religious faiths. The 
joyous victory parades the following days . . . were nothing compared to 
this inspirational service." '"^ Aaron Paperman, also in Italy, was credited 
with the largest military Seder ever held. Over 4,000 military personnel 
crowded into the waiting room of a railroad station at Florence to observe 
the Festival of Freedom at Passover time.''* 

General MacArthur issued an order 6 February 1945, requesting 
divine services throughout his command in thanksgiving for the liberation 
of Manila. A solemn military field Mass was attended by 5,000 after the 
Philippines were liberated, with John F. Depkiewicz as celebrant.'"" Spon- 
taneous and planned celebrations occurred wherever soldiers were found. 
Chapels were opened for prayer. The war was over. Everybody wanted 
to go home. Overnight the problems of war were replaced by the prob- 
lems of peace. Morale soared because the war was over, and then plunged 
as "going home" was delayed by the demands of an occupation force. 
The war was over. But the chaplain's job was not over. 

In May 1945 AAF Chaplain Conference was held at Gravelly Point, 
D.C., and the program included planning for G.I. Bill of Rights, Rede- 
ployment, Readjustment, and Demobilization; the Future of the Chap- 
laincy, Rotation, Replacement, Separations, and Surplus Chaplains.''' 


The chaplain ministered in the context of the times. In the 1920's 
there was a backlog of goodwill left over from the heroic service of World 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

186 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

War I chaplains. But the ranks of the "corps" were in disarray. The 
anti-military response of the American public was joined with pacifist 
sentiment in the churches, and while it was more vocal than numerically 
strong it had an effect upon the chaplaincy. Nevertheless, the branch got 
organized, came up with a Chief, a school, regulations defining duties, 
equipment, and started to supervise itself from within. The denomina- 
tions moved closer to their clergy in uniform, and there was partial 
support in high places of the military establishment. But the good things 
came slowly, feebly, and never completely as requested. 

The 1930's saw the Army and its needs put so far on the back burner 
that some of the institutional gains of the 20's were lost. The school foun- 
dered, the branch chief was limited in rank/influence, and the support 
from the top was minimal. 

The 1940's saw a setting almost totally unrelated to what had pro- 
ceeded it. The connecting links are there, but it requires some diligence 
to discover them. The differences stand out more clearly than the 

The chaplaincy never had stronger support from the top than it did 
under Chief of Staff, General George C. Marshall, and commanders like 
Eisenhower, MacArthur, Patton, Arnold, and others. Positive, effective, 
support replaced apathy and tolerance. Whatever problems were en- 
countered, or remained to be worked out institutionally, could not be 
laid at the door of top military leaders. 

General Marshall spoke of the importance of religion in the Army : 

I am deeply concerned as to the type of chaplain we get into the 
Army, for I look upon the spiritual life of the soldier as even more im- 
portant than his physical equipment. . . . The soldier's heart, the 
soldier's spirit, the soldiers soul are everything. Unless the soldier's soul 
sustains him, he cannot be relied upon and will fail himself and his com- 
mander and his country in the end 

It's morale — and I mean spiritual morale — which wins the victory 
in the ultimate, and that type of morale can only come out of the re- 
ligious nature of a soldier who knows God and who had the spirit of 
religious fervor in his soul. I count heavily on that type of man and that 
kind of Army. ^" 

Geneal Douglas MacArthur stated : 

Throughout the history of mankind, symbols have exerted an im- 
pelling influence upon the lives of men. The cross and flag are embodi- 
ments of our ideals and teach us not only how to live but how to die.^'^ 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


The impact of statements like these certainly helped create a climate 
in which the chaplain was not only free to minister, but was supported 
and encouraged. The words were backed up by deeds. Chapel building, 
the establishment of the Chaplain School, promotion of the Chief of 
Chaplains to Major General, the expansion of the branch to 9,000 chap- 
lains, supplies and equipment, training funds, regulations defining the 
commander's responsibilities, all of these were testimony to the fact that 
the country and the Army wanted the chaplains to do a good job. 

Morale, counseling statistics, and attendance at religious services 
were used as partial indicators of how well the mission of the chaplaincy 
was carried out. They are not perfect indicators, but shed some light. A 
rather startling revelation was that all but approximately 5 percent of 
military personnel professed identification as Protestant, Catholic, or 
Jewish, but less than half had received instruction in church membership 
or united with a church in a formal way.^'^ Many servicemen associated 
religion with the church "back home" and could not give the same affec- 
tionate loyalty to the chapel program. The serviceman or w^oman had 
little free time and did not want to spend it at the military installation; 
many of them found their way to friendly civilian churches. Practically 
all dependents lived in civilian communities and attended churches there. 
The great number of single service personnel and military dependents 
attending church in civilan communities were never reported by chap- 

In spite of this the Chief of Chaplains in his annual report of 1943 

The percent of monthly attendance as compared with Army 
strength is 97.5 percent for a yearly average . . . the total church at- 
tendance each month equals 97.5 percent of total Army strength. ^^° 

It ought to be noted that if one man went four times a month the 
"Army" would look better in terms of averages than was actually the 
case. What may be a more significant statistic is the fact that each chap- 
lain averaged 19.5 religious services per month with a total attendance 
of 1,160. This would imply that opportunities were made available for 
men to go to church. The Reverend Martin Neales, a retired lieutenant 
colonel of World War I, visited Scott Field in November 1941 and "com- 
mented especially on the large number of men attending services ... as 
compared to what was observed during 1917 and 1918." ^^^ 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

188 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

A statistical report for a typical month (May, 1944) '^^ showed the 
chaplain's activities : 

Religious Services 170,902 

Attendance upon Religious Services 10,160,881 

Communion and Sacramental Occasions 105,965 

Participants 1,370,908 

Guardhouse and Hospital Visits 1 10,093 

Pastoral Activities — Functional Occasions 989,995 

Pastoral Contacts — Persons Reached 7,480,646 

Civilian Communities — Functional Occasions 32,832 

Contacts — Persons Reached 3,368,515 

Some other tangible measurements are available. Southern Baptist 
chaplains were evangelists who kept records. In 1945 they reported 91,740 
professions of faith. From 1940 to 1945 they reported 298,932 professions 
of faith. Another interesting assessment is the number of men who made 
decisions to enter the ministry. The General Commission on Chaplains 
in 1945 mailed a questionnaire to Protestant chaplains requesting the 
names of men who intended to prepare for the ministry. Though the sur- 
vey came late in the war and little more than 50 percent of Protestant 
chaplains responded, by early 1946 there were 3,933 names submitted, 
which the Commission in turn sent to 40 denominational agencies for the 
follow up. The largest response was as follows. 

Baptist (all groups) 1,028 

Methodist 753 

Presbyterian 348 

Lutheran 295 

Disciples 152 

Congregational 95 

When one considers that this survey did not include Catholic or 
Jewish personnel, and was answered by only half the Protestant chaplains 
late in the war — it would be interesting to know how many priests, rabbis, 
and Protestant ministers, as well as other full-time religious workers, were 
former servicemen and women, and how many made their decision while 
in the Army.^^^ 

Chaplain Thomas Carter prepared and administered an interesting 
questionnaire "What Do You Think of Religion?" It attempted to 
analyze and classify the opinions of men returning from overseas with 
regard to religious customs and experiences. A majority felt that their 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


experience in the service had aided their attendance at worship services 
because these services were more accessible and directed to their personal 
needs, or because of the sobering effects of combat. Nearly half these men 
recognized a change in their attitude toward religion, and this change 
was almost always favorable. A large majority spoke favorably of the 
work of chaplains. Adverse comments included such statements as 
"narrow minded," "tend to force rehgion and worship on men," "too 
much idealizing," "partial to men of their own denomination." ^^* 

A strong Chief of Chaplains who had the rank, authority, and 
organization to administer a religious program in the Army was another 
positive strength throughout this period. Sitting as Chief of 9,000 chap- 
lains instead of 125 made an obvious difference in terms of number impact 
alone. Chaplains were much more "visible" than they had been at any 
previous time in terms of size. The chaplaincy had the whole-hearted 
support of the churches and synagogues of America. The church was 
aware that its future was closely tied to what happened to America's 
millions of young men in the service. 

Role expectation was much clearer on the part of the Army, the 
churches, and the chaplains. President Roosevelt said in 1942, "And we 
will never fail to provide for the spiritual needs of our officers and men 
under the chaplains of our armed services." The focal point of a chap- 
lain's ministry, everyone agreed, was the leadership of religious services, 
and though the task was herculean, an unbiased look at the record shows 
that men and women in the armed services had full opportunity to wor- 
ship. There were shortcomings in this area that appear to be related to 
administration and transportation problems. An example occurred in 
late 1943 when approximately 200,000 men in fighter and bomber 
service groups were moved to England with no provisions for doctors or 
chaplains. The Staff Chaplain, Arthur Dodgson, put in a frantic call for 
150 chaplains. Within two months 140 were sent.^^^ 

Time lost in "pipe-line" status for those going from one assignment 
to another made a staggering drain upon available personnel. Robert 
Chapman told of being sent overseas from Pinedale Army Air Base, 
California. He was sent to Greensboro, N.C., and the Overseas Replace- 
ment Depot where he waited some weeks for shipment orders, then to 
France, to Germany, back to France, and then to the 844th Engineer 
Battalion. Several months of potential service were "wasted" for him and 
the Army. His case was not unusual. At times as many as 50 chaplains 
waited six to eight weeks at Kearns AAB, Utah, awaiting shipment 
orders that would take them to Camp Stoneman, California, for further 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

190 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

delay, and then to the Pacific, where more weeks would be lost in a 
replacement pool before assignment."*" It can be blamed on bigness, red 
tape, the everchanging needs and priorities, but it was a problem that 
should have been solved. 

The expectation of the Army, that the chaplain would help provide 
good morale for a unit, is an almost impossible quality to measure. 
Certainly many chaplains took this role seriously and confronted the 
system on everything from "semi-officially sponsored" prostitution, to 
requiring soldiers to be armed with prophylactics, to cleaning up camp 
shows, and combating alcoholism with recreation and wholesome off 
duty programs. The role of the chaplain as counselor was closely tied to 
morale. The amount of counseling done by chaplains, viewed in retro- 
spect, appears super-human. There is no yardstick to measure suicides 
not attempted, AWOLS avoided, and breakdowns that did not happen. 
In terms of mental health, the chaplains' programs aimed at improving 
morale may have been a pioneering effort in community preventative 

The chaplains adjusted their presentation of the ancient gospel to 
the world in which they found themselves in many ways. Technologically 
they pioneered in the years of this volume, using motion pictures, phono- 
graphs, slides, public address systems, radio, and press to extend their 
influence and reach unchurched audiences through these media. In terms 
of transportation they traveled by jeep, airplane, parachute, ship, snow 
shoes, and train to reach beyond what any circuit rider of the past could 
have accomplished. They were conscious of their listeners, and of their 
needs, so that they again and again remarked that their sermons were not 
the same as those they preached at home. There was a constant note of 
practical application, directness, urgency, and basics in their preaching 
and teaching. The skills of modern counseling influenced by psychology 
were applied with a greater degree of professionalism than had been true 
at any previous time. The very fact that they had a chapel building in 
which to center their programs of education, music, and worship was a 
very real forward step. The translation skills, concerns for humane treat- 
ment of prisoners, the world wide relief work, and the ministry to dis- 
placed persons were new kinds of ministry both in setting, scope, and 
sheer numbers. 

Selection, indorsement, and training, while not fool-proof, had cer- 
tainly lifted the status and effectiveness of individual chaplains. Effective 
supervision by those in their own branch offered continued on the job 
training in putting their faith to work within the military setting. 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 


When all these factors have been taken into consideration it must be 
remembered that the effectiveness of chaplains in the Army was not 
dependent on tables of organization, status, local commanders, regula- 
tions, equipment, church boards and agencies, or the Chief's Office; but 
the local chaplain working with the men of his unit determined what the 
chaplaincy was for many a GI, and influenced him for good or ill, or not 
at all. 

How well did the individual chaplains do their job? Lingering stories 
suggest that with the rapid expansion of the branch there were some 
unworthy chaplains in the Army. 

Chaplains who drank too much, used profanity, gambled, engaged 
in sexual promiscuity, did black marketeering, or were rank happy, 
received more word-of-mouth publicity than those who meant well but 
were incompetent in the face of the great demands put upon them during 
the war. There were chaplain heroes, publicized and unknovvTi. James B. 
Murphy wrote, "The Army Chaplaincy is a great and noble work in spite 
of the failures of the past. There are great and unsung men in our history; 
and that is the way they would want to remain." ^^' Ralph E. Chess, later 
Chief of Air Force Chaplains, said the strength of the chaplaincy was 
"Being men of God in uniform with the guts to speak out and the humility 
to be silent as the situation required." And the weakness of the chaplaincy 
was, "Indorsing agencies furnishing second rate clergy for a difficult 
ministry." ^^^ 

General Brehon Somervell, who commanded The Services of Supply 
under which the chaplains served, wrote : 

"Living and working with the troops, the chaplains furnished one 
of the greatest morale factors in the war. Before battle and during it, the 
soldier could always turn to the chaplain for strength, and courage, for 
the chaplains followed the troops wherever they went. . . . The wounded 
received help and consolation . . . The dead were buried in the cloak of 
their faiths." "' 

General Eisenhower said of chaplains, "They were far too modest, 
far too much like shrinking violets and were normally hiding their lights 
behind trees if not under bushes." He referred to chaplains who failed 
to explain to soldiers why they were in the war, and what they were 
fighting for. He mentioned Cromwell's Army "that sang hymns while 
they hewed off heads with a sweep of their sword." Ike wanted more 
certainty of why America was fighting to be provided by chaplains to 
the Army."" Christianity in Crisis said, "In many units the work of the 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 

192 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

chaplain is confined to poorly attended services and to the difficult task 
of offering sympathy to men, turned over to him by other officers, whom 
he is powerless to help with more than sympathy." ^®^ The great majority 
of chaplains came directly from civilian life, and reported greater attend- 
ance than they experienced in parishes. ^^^ 

Perhaps more important than opinions about chaplain effectiveness 
are some facts. The letters of commendation and complaint were filed 
together in the Chief of Chaplains office. For every letter of complaint — 
and there were very few — there were thirty or forty of praise. Chaplains 
earned 2,453 decorations during World War 11.^"^ Half the rabbis in 
America volunteered for the chaplaincy; 422 received indorsement, 311 
served, 2 were killed in action, 2 wounded, 46 decorated for bravery.^®* 
The Army authorized the appointment of 790 black chaplains; by July 
1943, 247 were on active duty, 100 overseas, as compared to a total of 
57 black chaplains in World War I."^ 

Chaplains' attitudes, strengths, and fears varied, as did those of the 
persons they served. One chaplain during the Battle of the Bulge had a 
bad cold. He kept taking his temperature in the hope that it would be 
high enough to get him out of the line. He complained of it hanging on 
and on in a letter home. His sister wrote back that she was praying that 
he would soon be better. He shot back a letter, "Dear Maggie, Mind your 
own damned business. I'm praying that I'll get double pneumonia and 
they'll let me out of this cursed place. . . ." ^^'^ Another chaplain, who 
was killed in an invasion landing, wrote that he knew he would be afraid 
but, "the good I am going to do in there makes me courageous for, 
'Courage is fear that has said its prayers !' " ^^" 

In World War I there were 2,500 chaplains, 220 of whom were dis- 
missed for unsuitability. In July 1943, with 5,000 chaplains serving, only 
23 had been dismissed for unsuitability.^^^ Chaplain Arnold pointed out 
in an interview in July 1942, "We haven't had a chaplain court-martialed 
in fifteen years . . . and out of the thousands accepted thus far, only 
fifteen . . . have not measured up and have returned to civilian life." ^^^ 

There were some cases of chaplains who were absent without official 
leave. ^°° Chaplains could be reassigned, reprimanded, court-martialed, or 
boarded out. One of the most convenient means for release of a chaplain 
who did not truly represent his church was removal of ecclesiastical 
indorsement, which automatically terminated his service. The over- 
whelming statistical and factual evidence points to the fact that the 
chaplains did the job that was to become their motto — "Bringing God to 
men, and men to God." 

See footnotes at end of chapter. 



^Maurice Matloff, ed., American Military History, (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief 
of Militar>- History, United States Army, 1 969 ) , p. 4 1 7. 

"Daniel B. Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, (Wash- 
ington, D.C.: OfficeChief of Air Force Chaplains, 1961), p. 91. 

^ Matloff, American Military History, p. 473-490. 

* Ibid., p. 499-520. 

'Roy J. Honeywell, Chaplains of The United States Army, (Washington, D.C.: DA Office 
of the Chief of Chaplains, 1958) , p. 230. 

«/fcid.,p. 231. 

' Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 97. 

'Ibid., p. 101. 

'Ibid., p. 120. 

^'' Ibid., p. 120. 

^' Ibid., p. 129. 

"^ William C. Taggart and Christopher Cross, My Fighting Congregation, (Garden City, 
New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 1945), p. 30. 

" Percy Hickcox, Mine Eyes Have Seen, (Boston, Massachusetts: The Mosher Press, 1950), 
p. 31 32. 

" Ralph Waldo Nelson, Soldier, You're It!, (New York: Association Press, 1945), p. 1. 

'^ Prayer Proposed For Invasion Day, The New York Times, 4 May 1942, p. 42. 

" Invasion Plea Written, The New York Times, 20 May 1944 p. 13 : 1. 

" Prayer For Invasion Is Issued to Rabbis, The New York Times, 7 May 1944, p. 61. 

" Historical Monograph, 21 March 1946 314.7 Files of the Office of the Chief of Chaplains, 
Historical Office, USACHCS, Ft Wadsworth, SI, New York, p. 81-82. 

^' Ibid, p. 82. 

^Jorgensen The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 127. 

^ I bid., p. 127. 

^The Army Chaplain in the European Theatre, File 322 01/4 Office of the Chief of Chap- 
lains, Historical Office, USACHCS, Ft. Wadsworth, SI, New York p. 74. 

^Yoder P. Leith, questionnaire, 3 February 1975, Historical Office, USACHCS, Ft Wads- 
worth, SI, New York. 

"Lewis H. Grimes, USACHCS questionnaire, 26 December 1972. 

^Francis A. Cunningham, USACHCS questionnaire, 26 September 1974; Milton Crist, 
USACHCS questionnaire. 

"'Leland L. Loy, USACHCS questionnaire, 26 November 1974. 

=" Earnest Edward Eells, USACHCS questionnaire, 19 November 1974. 

^ Clark Lee, Chaplain Has No Gun in Battle Many Narrow Escapes, The Army and Navy 
Chaplain, Vol. XIV, No. 2, October-November 1942, p. 26 27. 

"'James Patrick Galvin, USACHCS questionnaire, 27 September 1974. 

^° Edward George Finnerty, USACHCS questionnaire, 1 October 1974. 

^^ John Thomas Byrne, USACHCS questionnaire, 25 September 1974. 

^^ Barrington Man Tells About Campaign from Oran to Tunis, The Providence Sunday Jour- 
nal, 22 August 1943, Section VI, p. 1. 

"The History of the Chaplain's Section, XVIII Airborne Corps, 19 December 1944, p. 12 
RG 247, Box 214, The National Archives, Washington D.C. 

"* Ibid, p. 4-8. 

^ Ibid. 

^'History of Chaplains Activities on Ascension Island, 314.7 Organizational History, files of 
office of the Chief of Chaplains, Record Group 247, Box 214, The National Archives, Washington, 

^^ History of the Chaplain's Section, XVIII Airborne Corps, 19 December 1944, p. 12 RG 
247, Box 214. 

^^Dan T. Caldwell and B. L. Bowman, They Answered the Call, (Richmond, Virginia: John 
Knox Press, 1952) , p. 43 44. 

194 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

^' Albert J. Hoffman USACHCS questionnaire. 

''"Jack Alexander, He's Our Guy, Saturday Evening Post, Vol. CCXVII, 28 April 1945, p. 
9-11,53 56,58. 

" Michael B. Kauffman, interview January 1976, USACHCS, Ft. Wadsworth, SI, New York. 

" US Army Chaplain Corps, American Chaplains of the Fifth Army, (Milan, Italy: Printed 
by Pizzi and Pizzio, 1945), p. 47. 

''Milton O. Beebe, HQ MTOUSA, 19 December 1944, letter, files of Office Of The Chief 
Of Chaplains, Historical Office, USACHCS, Ft Wadsworth, SI, New York. 

^ US Army Chaplain Corps, American Chaplains of the Fifth Army, p. 47. 

*^ Society for the Propagation of the Faith, The Priest Goes to War, (New York: The Society 
for the Propagation of the Faith, 1946) p. preface. 

■■^ Louis J. "QdiTish, Rabbis In Uniform (New York: Jonathan David : Publishers, 1962), p. 14. 

■•^ Operational History, Chaplain's Section Seventh Army, March 1944, Record Group 247, 
Box 214, The National Archives, Washington, D.C. 

^ David Max Eichorn, questionnaire, 16 October 1974. 

" Richard T. Maker, For God and Country: Mormon Chaplains During World War II, A 
thesis presented to the Department of History, Brigham Young University, 15 July 1975, p. 78. 

^ Caldwell and Bowman They Answered The Call, p. 48-49. 

^ Ibid., p. 39-40. 

^^ Francis L. Sampson, Look out Below!, (Washington, D.C: The Catholic University of 
America Press, 1958), p. 62 67, 108-129. 

"Robert L. Schock, History of the Chaplain Section XVIII Corps (Airborne) 16 September 
1944, p. 2, Record Group 247, Box 214, The National Archives, Washington, D.C. 

"John William Handy, Jr., USACHCS questionnaire, 24 October 1973. 1973. 

'^^ General Order 82, 15 August 1944, HQ 29th Infantry Division, Award of the Silver Star, 
files Historical Office, USACHCS, Ft. Wadsworth, SI, New York. 

^ Schock, History of the Chaplain Section XVIII Corps (Airborne), p. 7. 

" Charles Victor McSween, USACHCS questionnaire, 25 November 1974. 

''James H. O'Neill, The True Story of the Patton Prayer, (Washington, D.C. US Gov- 
ernment Printing Office, 1950), p. 1. 

'"Ibid., p. 1. 

^ Ibid., p. 2. 

'^ Ibid., p. 9. 

*° Frederick E. Kirker, Chaplains In the Jungle, The Army and Navy Chaplain, July-August 
1944, Volume XV, No. 1, p. 9. 

** Alfred Werner, Overseas Chaplain in Action, National Jewish Monthly, April 1943, Vol- 
ume 57, No. 8, p. 260. 

'^ Ibid., p. 258-259. 

*^ Jewish Chaplains on Land and Sea, Opinion: A Journal of Jewish Life and Letters, July 
1943, Vol. XIII, No. 9, p. 7. 

•^ Ibid. 

"' History of Chaplains Activities on Ascension Island, Record Group 247 Box 214 p. 2, 3, The 
National .Archives, Washington D.C. 

^History of Chaplains Activities in the Pacific, "Work among colored Troops", p. 396. 

°* Tenth Air Force Chaplaincy, 10 September 1943, p. 10, Record Group 247, Box 214, The 
National Archives, Washington, D.C 

''I bid., p. 2-3. 

''^General Orders Number 58, Headquarters Fifth Air Force, 31 December 1942, Award of 
the Silver Star to William C. Taggart, files OCCH. Also see Taggart's book. My Fighting Con- 

''- Henry Pitt Van Dusen, The Church Was Already There, Saturday Evening Post, 7 April 
1945,Vol. 217,No. 41,p. 68. 

" Ibid. 

'* Leon Wendell Hawley, USACHCS questionnaire, 25 November 1974. 

'■'■ Malcolm D. Hooker, USACHCS questionnaire, 23 October 1974. 

"' Harold Theodore Grabau, questionnaire, 5 November 1974. 

'^ Mert Melvin Lampson, questionnaire, 16 October 1974. 

"'Patrick James Ryan questionnaire, 12 December 1974, (served as Chief of Chaplains from 
May 1954 to November 1958) . 


™ Edwin Lankford Kirtley, questionnaire, 31 January 1975. 

*" John Michael Brew questionnaire, 4 October 1974. 

*^ L.R. Gabrielsen, Personal Narrative on Kwajalein operations, files: Historical Office, 
USACHCS, Ft. Wadsworth, SI, New York. 

^Report, Activities of Chaplains, 7th Infantry Division, Kwajalein Operation, p. 14 files. 
Historical Office, USACHCS, Ft. Wadsworth, SI, New York. 

^United States Army Forces in the Far East, General Order Number 123, 21 May 1945; 
Headquarters 37th Infantry Division, General Order Number 186, 20 July 1945; Also General 
Order Number 174, 25 July 1944, files. Historical Office, USACHCS, Ft. Wadsworth, SI, New 

®* Kenneth William Fristoe, questionnaire, 8 June 1975. 

^ The Story of Christian Science Wartime Activities 1939-46, p. 175-176. 

^ Tenth Air Force Chaplaincy Historical Report, p. 1, Record Group 247, Box 214, The 
National Archives, Washington, D.C. 

*' History of Chaplains Activities in the Pacific, p. 420. 

«'7fczW., p. 401. 

* Sperry, Religion of Soldier and Sailor, p. 8. 

®° Barish, Rabbis in Uniform p. 19. 

*^ J.M. Bradberry, questionnaire, 26 November 1974. 

°" The Military Chaplaincy, A Report to the President, p. 14. 

^^The Story of Christian Science Wartime Activities 1939-46, (Boston, Massachusetts: The 
Christian Science Publishing Society, 1947) p. 182. 

°* History of the Chaplains' Section 744th Railway Operating Battalion, 9 November 1944, 
RG 247, Box 214 National Archives, Washington, D.C. 

''Hq 5th Infantry, Office of the Chaplain, 20 November 1944, RG 247, Box 214, National 
Archives, Washington, D.C. 

*'The Presidents' Committee on Religion and Welfare in the Armed Forces, The Military 
Chaplaincy; A Report to the President, 1 October 1950, Washington, D.C, 1951. 

"^ Gerald Rabe, The Chaplain Faces the Front, Christian Family and our Missions, March 
1945, Volume XL, p. 87. 

*^ Frederick C. Proehl, Marching Side by Side, (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 
1945), p. 66. 

** American Chaplains of the Fifth Army, p. 15. 

^°° John Robert Himes, questionnaire, 22 October 1974. 

^°^ Maker, For God and Country: Mormon Chaplains during World War II, p. 43. 

^°° US Japanese Chaplain, Hawaii's First, Joins Up, New York Times, 10 June 1943, p. 56. 

"^General Order Number 67, Headquarters Third Air Division, 19 January 1945, Award of 
the Soldiers Medal to Chaplain (Captain) William J. Zink, files: History Office, USACHCS Ft. 
Wadsworth, SI, New York. 

^"^ Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 281. 

^''^ Ibid., p. 282. 

"' Ibid., p. 282. 

^^^ Albert R.H. Miller, With German POW's, Advance, Vol. CXXXVIII, February 1945, 
p. 24-25. 

"^ John William Handy, Jr., questionnaire. 

^'^ Hiro Higuchi, questionnaire, 17 October 1974. 

""John Ogden Fisher, questionnaire, 1 October 1974. 

"^ Arthur John Doege, questionnaire, 16 October 1974. 

^History of Seventh Army Chaplain Section, 1 March 1945, Record Groups 247, Box 214, 
The National Archives, Washington, D.C. 

"^ Edward L. R. Elson, USACHCS questionnaire, 19 December 1974. 

"* Ibid. 

^^ William Bradford Huie, The Execution of Private Slovik, (New York: Delacorte Press, 
1970), p. 197. 

^'Richard Whittingham, Martial Justice, (Chicago: Henry Regency Company, 1971), p. 

"^ Saved by a Bible, The Army and Navy Chaplain, July-August 1943, Vol. XIV, No. 1, p. 23. 

"^ Caldwell and Bowman, They Answered the Call, p. 67-68. 

196 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

"°Ivan H. Northdurft, American Bible Society Historical Essay No. 14, Par VIII, Distribu- 
tion in the USA, 1931-66, p. 156, American Bible Society Library, New York. Also; Clyde H. 
Dennis, Rickenbacker's Epic of the Sea, Ten Thrilling Stories from the World's Battlejronts, 
(Chicago: Good News Publishing Co., 1943), p. 10-11, and Eddie Rickenbacker 21 Days Adrift 
in Pacific, Life, 25 January, 1943. 

^° Ibid, American Bible Society Historical Essay, p. 156. 

"^ Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 256-257. 

^- Ibid., p. 258, and Marjorie L. Miller, War Service of the American Bible Society 1940- 
1948, Essay No. 15, VII-B, January 1967, p. 5 American Bible Society Library, New York, also 
Essay No. 14 p. 151-184. 

^® Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 259. 

"^ Ibid., p. 255-256. 

^ Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 89. 

^Francis Joseph Spellman, Action This Day, (New York: Scribners Sons, 1943). 

^ Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 92. 

^^ Spellman, Action This Day, p. 73. 

"° Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 237. 

"" Ibid., p. 237-238. 

"^ History of Chaplains Activities In the Pacific, p. 462-3 

^^ Philip D. Bernstein, Opinion, p. 6. 

"' Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 92. 

"* Ibid., p. 93. 

^^ George Gershon Korsen, At His Side, The Story of the American Red Cross Overseas in 
World War II, (New York: Coward-McCann, Inc., 1945). 

"" Ibid., p. 4, 300. 

"' Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 71 and 259. 

^"^ Ibid., 215, 269. 

"' Ibid., p. 207. 

"" Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 238-242. 

^" Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 142-143. 

"= Kenneth Lyndle Ames, USACHCS questionnaire, 2 December 1974. 

"^^^ Kenneth A. ConneUy, Jr., Chaplain's Assistant, (Seattle: The Craftsmen Press, 1945), p. 3. 

'" Ibid., p. 44. 

^^ Lee, The Army and Navy Chaplain, p. 27. 

"* See Chapter III, "Combat Comes to the Chaplains." 

"^History of the Chaplain Section, XVIII Corps (Airborne), 6 April 1945; Record Group 
247, Box 214, National Archives. 

^^® Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 144. 

"' Daisy Armoury, Father Cyclone, (New York: Julian Messner Inc., 1958) ; James D. Book, 
Tell it to the Chaplain, Churchman, Vol. CLVI, 15 September 1942, p. 19; Kenneth A. Con- 
nelly, Chaplain's Assistant, (Seattle: The Craftsman Press, 1945) ; B.H. Darr's, Specialist (W), 
Christian Advocate (Chicago), CXIX, 16 March 1944, p. 316-17. 

^^^ Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 145. 

^^ Honeywell, Chaplains of The United States Army, p. 257. 

^^^ Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 278. 

^ Ibid., p. 279. 

'" Ibid., p. 285. 

'^ Ibid., p. 286. 

"" Headquarters Army Service Forces, Office of the Chief of Chaplains, Circular Letter No. 
292, 1 January 1945, p. 1. 

^"^ Circular Letter No. 296, 1 May 1945, p. 1. 

^^ The Army and Navy Chaplain Salutes the New Chiefs, The Army and Navy Chaplain, 
July-August 1945, Vol. XVI, No. 1., p. 20. 

'^^'' Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 151. 

""Songs of the Two Chaplain Corps, The Army and Navy Chaplain, July-August, 1945, 
Vol. XVI, No. 1, p. 26. 

^" Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 277. 


""History of the Chaplain Section XVIII Corps (Airborne) 13 December 1945, Record 
Group, 247, Box 214, The National Archives. 

"^ Judah Nadich, USACHCS questionnaire, 1 January 1975, also his book, Eisenhower and 
the Jews, (New York: Twayne, 1953). 

"* Barish, Rabbis In Uniform, p. 36. 

^•"/fc/J.^p. 38-42. 

'^ Ibid., p. 42-46. 

"■ Ibid., p. 58. 

^^ Ibid., p. 72-73. 

'"' OCCH Circular Letter No. 302, p. 4. 

'"" OCCH Circular Letter No. 300, p. 4. 

^""■Beaten By Japs, The Army and Navy Chaplain, April-May 1945, Vol. XV, No. 4, p. 1, 
and, Alfred C. Oliver, Jr. ". . . But I Didn't Lose God", The Army and Navy Chaplain Julv- 
August 1945, Vol. XV, No. 5, p. 4. 

^'" Honeywell, Chaplains of The United States Army, p. 274. 

^■^ Jacob St. Clair Bousum, USACHCS questionnaire, 3 November 1974. 

^'* Barish, Rabbis In Uniform, p. 18. 

^~° Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 180. 

'''Ibid., p. 116. 

'" Ibid.,p. 111. 

'''Ibid., p. 277. 

'''Ibid., p. 164. 

'^'^ Ibid., p. 164. 

'''Ibid., p. 165. 

"' The Chaplain Serves (Washington, D.C. : Office of Chaplains, 1944) . 

^"Jorgensen, The Se-rvice of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 282. 

'^ Ibid., p. 278. 

"^ Ibid., p. 134. 

"'Ibid., p. 133. 

^^ James Bernard Murphy, USACHCS questionnaire, 25 September 1974. 

"^ Ralph E. Chess, USACHCS questionnaire, 13 September 1974. 

''*^ The Presidents Committee on Religion and Welfare in the Armed Forces, The Military 
Chaplaincy, a report to the President, 1 October 1950, (Washington: GPO 1951), p. 13. 

''^ The Washington Post, 1 May 1954. 

''■" Christianity in Crisis, July, 1945, Vol. V, No. 3, p. 10. 

"^Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 281. 

^^^ Honeywell, Chaplains of the United States Army, p. 294. The Military Chaplaincy; a 
report to the President, p. 8, places the number at 2,395. 

^°* Barish, Rabbis In Uniform, p. 20, and Jewish Chaplains on Land and Sea, Opinion, July 
1943,Vol. XIII, No. 9, p. 6. 

^■^ Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 136. 

'^ Connelly, Chaplain's Assistant, p. 68. 

'^' Society for the Propogation of the Faith, The Priest Goes to War. New York: The Society 
for the Propogation of the Faith, 1946. 

"" OCCH Circular Letter, No. 287, 1 August 1944, p. 1. 

^^^ Clarence Hall, God's Soldiers, The Christian Advocate, 2 July 1942, reprinted and pre- 
sented to the OCCH. 

""" Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplain to Army Air Units 1917-1946, p. 128. 

246-684 O - 78 - 14 


Ralph McCaskill became a chaplain in 1934, the "Dark Days of 
Ardent Pacifism," when an officer and enlisted man were all but ostra- 
cised from civilian communities. It was a time when, as General Hagood 
said, "It is difficult to secure funds for the regular Army to purchase even 
a five-cent lead pencil." When he reported for duty at Fort Screven, 
Georgia, no chaplain had been assigned to the post for seven years. There 
was no chapel, and no quarters for him. When an old CCC barracks 
became empty McCaskill literally ran to the colonel's office to put in a 
request for the building. He was minutes ahead of two captains who 
wanted the same structure. The chaplain won the building and asked the 
Post Exchange Council for two hundred and fifty dollars to make it into a 
chapel. The Council said it couldn't be done, but he did it — with $17,50 
left over. The Council voted that amount to be spent for a pulpit Bible. ^ 

Henry P. Mobley began the war as an aviation cadet in 1944. At the 
suggestion of his commanding officer he started proceedings to transfer 
to the chaplaincy. The transfer came through and the cross and bar were 
pinned on at a special formation before his fellow cadets. The Comman- 
dant of Cadets at Harlingen said in a speech at the ceremony, "This is a 
proud moment for me. The bar of the First Lieutenant is as nothing, but 
I thank God for the privilege of placing for the first time on the collar of 
this young man the Cross of Christ, symbol — even in time of hatred — of 
love and mercy !" ^ 

These two experiences epitomized the nature of the chaplaincy 
between 1920 and 1945. From the end of World War I to the end of 
World War II the chaplaincy, and the institution in which it was placed, 
changed drastically. So, too did the esteem in which chaplains were held. 
In World War I they were often called "Holy Joes." The nickname in the 
Second World War was more likely to be "Chappie." The change partly 
reflected consciousness of a wider role. As it survived hard times, the 
chaplaincy matured into its greatest period of service; a time when the 
nation provided the money, manpower, chapels, equipment, transporta- 
tion, and training it withheld for so long. The experience of McCaskill 
and Mobley starkly contrasted the times in which they served. It took a 

See notes at end of epilogue. 



worldwide conflict to bring it about, but a nation in a jam invested in 
the chaplaincy. The nation got its money's worth. General Marshall 
said "Military power wins battles, but spiritual power wins wars." '' In 
the war of the spirit the "Soldiers of God," the US Army Chaplains, 
ministered to the largest Army in American history, and with them, won 
the war. 

Epilogue Footnotes 

^ Dan T. Caldwell and B.L. Bowman, They Answered The Call, (Richmond, Virginia: John 
Knox Press, 1952), p. 64. 

- Ibid., p. 69. 

^Daniel B. Jorgensen, The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946, (Washing- 
ton, D.C. : Office Chief of Air Force Chaplains, 1961), p. 277. 



Aid station 148, 151 

Altar 114 

Alienation from churches 6, 56 

American Bible Society 169 

American Indians 60 

American Red Cross 23, 125, 175 

Annual reports of the Chief. . . 77,24, 76, 187 

Arcadia conference 117 

Arlington National Cemetery 10, 41 

Army Air Corps 3,4,111, 143, 177 

The Army And Navy Chaplain 75, 169 

The Army Chaplain 12, 55 

Army Chaplain's Association 12 

Army Regulations 15, 18, 21,40 

Army strength 33 

Arsenal of democracy 92 

Assistants 12,38,175 

Athletics 22 

Attack on Shanghai 1932 49 

Attendance at Services 24 , 36 

Attu 160 

Audio-visuals 65, 80 

Baptisms 1 20 

Bastogne 116 

Bataan 119 

Bibles 168 

Blacks 42, 68, 100, 158 

Blood donors 1 75 

B'nai Brith 129 

Bougainville 142 

Burials 182 

Cabanatuan 1 19, 120 

Camp Grant 18 

Camp Knox 18 

Casualties among chaplains 141, 215 

Cenotaph 41,85 

Chapels 39,71 

attendance 24, 36 

cantonement (mobilization, regi- 
mental) 87, 88,89, 114 

construction 71,113 

cost 72,115 

overseas 115 

Chaplains 5 

conferences 32 , 1 20 , 1 85 

legislation affecting 12,32, 34, 1 13 


Chaplains— Continued 

numbers 96 

opposition to 52 

as prisoners 151 , 166 

promotions 6, 57 

qualifications 13, 14, 15,98 

ratio to military strength 33 

Aid Association 70 

assistants 12,38, 175 

citations 40 

flag 22,38 

manual 12,22,112 

March (see "Soldiers of God"). . . 181 

pool 122 

Character building lecture 1 1 , 38 

Character Guidance 11, 122 

Chief of Chaplains 6,8,62,99,104 

Chief of Staff 58, 186 

China — Burma — India theatre 118, 162 

Christian Century 27, 55 

Christian Endeavor 9, 1 75 

Christian Herald 128 

Christian Science 105, 162 

Christianity In Crisis 94 

Christmas 155 

Church parade 79 

Circuit rider 61, 190 

Citizens Military Training Camps .... 4, 35 

Civilian clergymen 105 

assistance of 63, 96 

visitation 173, 178 

Civilian Conservation Corps 9, 58 

Chaplains of 58 

Director 60 

Problems of 68 

Thoughts of men in 67 

Communion 116 

Conference on moral and religious 

work 12,32 

Conscientious objectors 177 

Corregidor 119 

Correspondence 20, 122, 158 

Counseling 38, 122, 126, 132 

Demobilization 3, 7 

Denmark 92 

Denominational quotas and balance. . 208 

Department of Agriculture 59 




Depression, the great 49, 58 

Deputy Chief of Chaplains 180 

Devotional literature 40, 172 

Disaster relief 70 

Distinguished Service Cross. ... 119, 129, 154 
Dorchester, S.S 127 

Ecumenism 19 

Education 24, 25 

England 1 65 

Epilogue 198 

Equipment 38, 39 

European theatre 5 

Evaluation 43, 80, 185 

Expansion of corps 80, 99 

Extra duties 22 

Federal Council of Churches ... 15, 28, 55, 98 

Films, training 109 

Flag chaplains' 22, 38 

Floods 69, 70 

FortDevens 109 

Fort Benjamin Harrison 108 

Fort Leavenworth 12, 18, 167 

Fort Oglethorpe 12, 1 10 

Four chaplains 90, 1 27 

France 5,41, 94, 142, 164 

Gallup poll 57,93 

General Committee on Chaplains. . 15, 54, 98 
General Commission on Chaplains. 44, 86, 97 

Germany 3, 141 

Gideon Society 171 

Graduate study 119 

Graduation of the Chaplain School. . 10, 110 

Great Britain 91 

Guadalcanal 1 17, 142 

Harvard University 108, 165 

Hirohito, Emperor 165 

Hitler, Adolf 50, 79, 93 

Holland 92 

Holy Name Society 1 75 

Hospital chaplain 103 

Hymnbook 12, 172 

Indorsing agencies 96, 191 

Insignia 28 

Invasion of Poland 91 

Invasion prayers 147 

Ireland 118, 164 

Isolationism 50, 91, 95, 101 

Japanese 2, 49, 92, 1 19, 165 

Jewish Welfare Board 15, 97, 1 70, 1 74 

Jews 64, 94, 95, 153 

King James Version 169 

Kiska 161, 162 

League of Nations 

Lectures of chaplains. . . 
Lend Lease Act of 1941 

Life Raft Packet 








Marriage 123 

Mass 173, 183,185 

Medal, for heroism, special 1 29 

Mediterranean theatre 142, 153 

Memorials of WW I 40 

Mexican border 3 

Military Chaplains' Association 12 

Military Ordinariate 15, 97 

Minorities 42, 60, 68, 96, 100 

Missonary outreach 150, 159, 164, 165 

Moral Re-Armament 50 

Morale 76, 185 

Mussolini, Benito 50, 102 

National Army ^^ 

National Defense Act 4, 19 

National Guard 3, 4, 13, 107 

Natural disasters 69 

Neutrality Act 9^ 

New Deal ^^ 

New Georgia ^ ^" 

New Guinea 133,142,158,182 

Newark conference ^4 

Newspapers 53, 54 

North .Africa 142, 180 

Norway ^^ 

Occupation ^ 

Officers' Reserve Corps 4, 14 

"One Solitary Life" 172 

Organization 5, 72, 142 

Pacific theatre 142,148,159 

Pacifism 14, 27, 50, 51, 57, 68, 95 

Page Army ^^ 

Paratroopers ' ^ ■^ 

Passover Seder services 162, 185 

Pastoral acts 207, 218 

Patriotic and Special days 10, 114, 185 

Peacetime mobilization "0 

Pearl Harbor 42, 92 

Philippines 4, H 

Post exchange 24,124,198 

Prayers 1 ^^ 

Prisoners of war 1"" 

American 1 1^ 

Germans 116, 167 

Italian 150,151 

Japanese 1"° 

Promotions 6, 57, 181 

1 99 
Public relations ' •'^ 




Radio broadcasts 77, 78 

Recreation 125 

Reduction in force 57 

Regular Army 3, 4 

Religious literature 40 

Religious tolerance 9, 124, 126 

Reports , 21,22, 64,73 

Reserves '.^ 4, 13,96 

Revival 163 

Rome 1 53 

"Roosevelt's Tree Army" 60 

Sacraments 116,120, 123, 173, 183, ia5 

Selective Service 92, 96 

Sex morality lectures 23 

Servicemen's Christian League 175 

Soil erosion 59 

"Soldiers of God" (see "Chaplains' 

March") 181 

Soviet Union 117 

Statistical Reports 24, 76, 77, 187 

Supplies 38,71, 168,172 

Tientsin, China 3 

Thanksgiving 1 85 


additional 16, 19,107,111, 112 

maneuvers 91 

manual 12,22 

Transportation 189, 190 

Transports 126 

Tri-C 65 

United Services Organization 125, 135 

Unknown Soldier 10 

USS Kearny 101 

USS Reuben James 101 

Veneral disease 23, 122 

Visits by the Chief 62 

by clergy 173 

Womens' Army Corps 101, 1 1 1 

Womens' Christian Temperance 

Union 78 

Works Projects Administration 71 

World War I 2 

Militarism 27,52 

Veterans 60 



Acheson, Dean 57, 102 

Adler, Cyrus 97 

Ainslee, Peter 53 

Allenby, Hubert A 110 

Ames, Kenneth L 116, 176 

Arnold, F. R 70 

Arnold, William R. . 61 ,74, 87, 125, 171, 180 

Axton, John T 8 

Axton, John T., Jr 10 

Baker, Newton D 54 

Bartek, Johnny 169 

Baublitz, E. R 60 

Beebe, Milton O 78, 153 

Beglum, Gerhard L 116 

Bennett, Ivan L 77, 192 

Benninghoff, Howard 1 26 

Bermingham, Thomas P 71 

Bernstein, Phillip S 1 74 

Berrett, Lyman C 165 

Bigcow, Mike 77 

Biggs, E. Power 109 

Blakeney, James L 1 1 6, 1 34 

Blanchard, Harry M 78 

Bodies, J. H. August 78 

Borneman, John K 119 

Bousum, Jacob S 185 

Bowdern, William S 128 

Bradbury, J. M 163 

Branham, Edward L 22, 23, 77 

Brasted, Alva J 25, 55, 58, 60, 74, 172 

Braunstein, Richard 66 

Brent, Charles H 5 

Brees, H.J 107 

Brew, John M 161 

Bricker, Barnett 1 74 

Brody, Arthur 183 

Brown, Charles L 152, 153 

Brown, Ralph W 119 

Brundich, William 124 

Burgett, Donald R 113 

Burling, Edwin 78 

Byrd, William B 151 

Byrne, John T 150 

Campbell, Eugene E 154 

Carpenter, Charles 1 56, 143, 175, 179 

Carter, Louis C 58 


Capron, William E 152, 158 

Chapman, Robert B 124 

Chase, Richard H 151 

Churchill, Winston S 109, 1 1 7, 1 73 

Cleary, William D 107, 108, 180 

Coe, Joseph 119 

Connelly, Kenneth A. Jr 1 76 

Connelley, Matthew J 151 

Coolidge, Calvin 34 

Covell, D. R 70 

Cox, Vincent A 158 

Crain, George 151 

Creeger, Marion 1 35, 1 72 

Cummings, Carl P 167 

Cunningham, Francis A 149 

Daib, Walter 164 

Daniel, Eugene L 154 

Davis, James E 120 

Dean, John M 63 

Diebert, Ralph C 108 

Depkiewicz, John F 185 

De Veaux, John A 1 74 

Dicker, Herman 183 

Doege, Arthur J 169 

Dubra, Charles H 158 

Dudley, Harold M 65 

Duffy, Francis P 41 

Dulles, John F 93 

Easterbrook, Edmund P 6, 1 1, 25 

Eells, Calvin E 149 

Eells, David 149 

Eells, Earnest E 149 

Eichorn, David M 130, 154, 183 

Eisenhower, Dwight D 14, 130 

Elson, Edward L. R 1 18, 167 

Everson, William G 79 

Fealey, Ignatius 79 

Feffer, Abraham 184 

Fechner, Robert 60 

Finnegan, Terence P 61, 102 

Finnerty, Edward G 150 

Fisher, John O 126, 166 

Fisher, Orville E 26 

Fitzgerald, Edward R 116 





Foran, Howard 117 

Ford, Clarence 164 

Ford, George B 16, 17 

Fosdick, Harry E 93 

Foster, Thomas E 124 

Fox, George L 128 

Frazer, Harry C 20 

Fristoe, Kenneth W 116, 161 

Gabrielson, Tom K 161 

Gallagher, Robert W 149 

Galvin, James P 150 

Gardiner, Harold 93 

Gaskins, Steve P., Jr 123 

Geigerich, Paul 62 

Gilmore, Joseph A 153 

Goldman, Meyer G 183 

Golish, Clarence F 164 

Goode, Alexander D 128, 153 

Goody, Henry 153 

Goodyear, A. S 10, 99 

Gordon, Albert A 162 

Gorrelick, Benjamin 183 

Graeser, Charles F 39, 72, 133 

Gravs, William S 3 

Gregg, John A 1 73 

Gregory, Edmund B 114 

Griesemer, Thomas 100 

Griffith, E.J 78 

Grimes, Lewis H 148 

Guennette, Alfred J 113 

Hale, Wallace 182 

Hall, Raymond S 1 12, 155 

Handy, John W., Jr 155, 166 

Harding, Warren G 26 

Harkins, Paul D 156 

Hawley, Leon W 159 

Hayes, Thomas E 151 

Hayne, Orlando V 166 

Head, Hal C 78 

Heindle, Elmer W 161 

Hennon, Robert M 151 

Hertzog, Lawrence 165 

Heuer, Herman H 128 

Hickcox, Percy 122, 146 

Himes, John R 116, 118, 165 

Hoffman, Albert J 152, 166 

Hooker, Malcolm D 159 

Hopkins, Harry 71 

Horowitz, Samuel 153 

Hull, Cordell 101 

Hymans, Ario S 163 

Hyde, G. F 70 

Jacobson, Solomon 63 

Jaeger, Vernon P 1 26 

Jones, C. Q 70 

Jones, Emmett G 126 


Jones, N. A 79 

Jones, Nathaniel L 78 

Jordan, Furman E 116 

Jorgensen, Einor 161 

Katt, Alvin 103 

Kauffman, Michael B 152 

Kenna, Alpha H 110 

Kennedy, Joseph P 93 

Kennedy, Kenson 162 

Kimmell, Husband E 102 

King, William F 149, 176 

Kirker, Frederick E 157 

Kirtley, Edwin L 160 

Klein, Isaac 183 

Kohlstedt, Evelyn 170 

La Fleur, Joseph V 119 

Lampson, Mert M 160 

Langford, Lloyd E 167 

Leith, Yoder P 148 

Leonard, Adna W 98, 173 

Lev, Aryeh 97,131 

Lindbergh, Charles A 57 

Liston, James M 1 30 

Lorge, Ernest 184 

Loy, Leland L 149 

Mac Arthur, Douglas 59, 130, 185 

Manning, William T 147 

Marshall, George C 61, 

91, 105, 115, 117, 131 

Martin, Robert A 123 

Marx, Leo 145 

Mattson, Edward J Ill 

Matternowski, Ignatius 151 

Mc Caskill, Ralph 198 

Mc Farland, Charles S 33,37 

Mc Gee, Tilden S 155 

Mc Knight, A. L 70 

Mc Murray, George 72 

Mc Sweeney, Charles V 156 

Melton, Roger P 169 

Merchant, Myland D 108 

Milburn, Frank W 167 

Miller, Albert R. H 166 

Miller, Carl 183 

Miller, Frank L 72, 1 73 

Miller, Luther D 107, 180 

Mitchell, R. Bland 105 

Mobley, Henry P 198 

Monahan, John F 114 

Moody, Paul D 5, 98, 106, 163 

Moore, Wright T 110 

Morrison, Charles C 27 

MuUaly, William F 162 

Mundy, Wilfred A 63 

Murphy, James D 191 




Nadich, Judah 183 

Nimitz, Chester W 163 

Nelson, C. C 78 

Nelson, Ralph W 146 

O'Brien, Walter 121 

O'Daugherty, Eugene O 164 

O'Hara, John F 97 

Oliver, Alfred C 119, 120, 184 

O'Neil, James H 156 

Oxnan, G. Bromley 1 74 

Page, Herman Riddle 108 

Page, Kirby 54 

Paperman, Aaron 153, 185 

Parker, Roy 77 

Patton, George S 156 

Patyon, Jacob S 125 

Perdue, M. M. D 71 

Pershing, John J 4 

Phillips, Hudson B 78 

Pierce, Jason N 41,53 

PiusXH, Pope 153 

Poling, Clark V 127 

Poling, Daniel 128, 1 74, 1 78 

Pool, David de Sola 106 

Price, Lucien 49 

Pugh, William B 98, 1 73 

Purdy, Stanley T 176 

Ramsey, Elling C 116 

Reynolds, Maurice W 20, 22, 1 16, 143 

Reynolds, Oscar W 108 

Rice, Charles D 164 

Richmond, Harry P 103, 158 

Rickenbacker, Eddie 169, 179 

Riddle, George B 152 

Ripley, Robert L 116 

Rixey, George F 24, 107, 173, 180 

Rogers, Ralph W 72 

Roosevelt, Franklin D 51, 59, 1 17, 171 

Rosen, Herman L 153 

Rosenbaum, William F 147 

Rothschild, Walter 1 74 

Royce, Ralph 22 

Rupp, Paul D 108 

Ryan, David W 151 

Ryan, Patrick J 153, 160, 173 

Sagar, John 168 

Salisbury, S. W 54 

Sampson, Francis L 151, 155 

Sandhaus, Morris A 183 

Saunders, Edward J 1 28 

Schenck, Emmanuel 183 

Schock, Robert L 183 


Schroeder, P. C 78 

Scicina, Thomas 121 

Scott, Robert S 155, 179 

Segal, Bernard 97 

Sherrill, Henry K 98, 1 74 

Sizoo, Joseph R 56 

Skaggs, Bruce 107 

Slovik, Eddie D 167 

Smith, Bertram L 163 

Smith, Ralph E 167 

Smith, Walter B 183 

Somervell, Brehon B 1 29 

Spellman, Francis J 97, 173 

Stillwell, Joseph W 160 

Stone, Earl S 183 

Storaasli, Gynther 58, 131 

Sullivan, John J 41 

Taft, Robert A 93 

Taggart, Gerard W 156 

Taggart, William C 158 

Tarskey, Benjamin 22, 39 

Taylor, Robert 119 

Teidt, Elmer E 20, 103 

Teitelbaum, Samuel 183 

Thomas, John M 27 

Tofield, Aaron 183 

Toomey, John 93 

Towle, George 168 

Tucker, Henry S 113 

Tull, James E 96, 159 

Utts, Douglas 78 

Vaugh, A. F 71 

Verret, John J 151 

Voorhis, Mrs. Daniel 70 

Vorsheim, H. G 70 

Ware, Joseph 162 

Washington, John P 128 

Wilson, John A 1 19, 121 

Wilson, Woodrow 40 

Windsor, Duke of 109 

Woodring, Harris H 65 

Yancey, George R 158 

Yamada, Masao 165 

Yates, Julian E 1 1, 54, 74 

Ylvisaker, N. M 79 

Zellner, Aubrey A 159 

Zink, William J 165 

Zerbas, Matthew 119 

Zimmerman, Leslie 1 19, 121 

Zimmerman, W. B 70 




Name Denomination Grade Years 

John T. Axton Congregationalist . COL 1920-1928 

Edmund P. Easterbrook Methodist COL 1928-1929 

Julian E. Yates Baptist COL 1929-1933 

Alva J. Brasted Baptist COL 1933-1937 

William R. Arnold Catholic *MG 1937-1945 

Luther D. Miller Episcopalian *BG 1945- 


George F. Rixey Methodist BG 1944-1945 

William D. Cleary Catholic BG 1945- 

*Chaplain Arnold served as Chief as a Colonel, a Brigadier and a Major General, Chaplain 
Miller served as Chief for 9 months in the grade of Brigadier General before being promoted to 
Major General, but after the period covered in this volume, Chaplains Arnold and Rixey served 
in the Office of the Inspector General after leaving office so that in 1945 there were four chaplains 
of General Officer grade on active duty. 




Regular Army Chaplains conducted 19, 358 

1,943, 176 

Civilian Clergy conducted 3, 809 

223, 550 
Totals 23, 167 






2, 166, 726 Attendance 


Reserve Chaplains conducted 57, 916 Services 

5, 658, 667 Attendance 

Civilian Clergy conducted 1 20, 399 Services 

5,503,011 Attendance 

Totals 178, 315 Services 

11, 161, 678 Attendance 

(These figures do not include the Army or CCC personnel who went 
to church off post in civilian parishes.) 

♦Honeywell, Chaplains of The United States Army, p. 210. 





Roman Catholic 


Baptist, South 

Baptist, Colored 


Presbyterian, U.SA 

Protestant Episcopal 

Baptist, North 

Disciples of Christ 

Lutheran, Missouri Synod. 

United Lutheran 

American Lutheran 

Congregational Christian . . 

Evangelical and Reformed . 

Latter Day Saints 

African Methodist Epis- 

Presbyterian, U.S 

United Brethren 

African M. E. Zion 

Churches of Christ 

Christian Science 

Colored Methodist Epis- 







2 Sep 

































2. 13 


2. 11 










































2 Sep 1945 

Reformed in America 

United Presbyterian 

Greek Orthodox 

Conservative Brethren . . . . 

Assemblies of God 

Seventh-Day Adventist. . . . 
Church of the Nazarene. . . 

American Baptist 

Latter-Day Saints, Reor- 

Federated Churches 

Christian Reformed 

Free Will Baptist 

Salvation Army 

Primitive Baptists 

Russian Orthodox 






















♦Included among other Baptists 

210 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

The 7.21 percent not included in the foregoing table allowed 613 

to be obtained from other sources. At the end of the war, 221 of these 
were on duty representing the following bodies : 



2 Sep 1945 

General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, North 14 

Independent Fundamental Churches of America 15 

Methodist, South 1 

Bible Presbyterian 9 

Norwegian and Danish Evangelical Free Church 1 

Pentecostal Holiness 4 

Brethren, General Conference 1 

Brethren, Progressive 1 

Brethren (old Constitution) 1 

Church of God (Indiana) 11 

Church of God (Pennsylvania) 1 

Foursquare . 4 

Reformed Episcopal 2 

Cumberland Presbyterian 20 

Orthodox Presbyterian 6 

United Grace andT.E.A 1 

Universalists 10 

Advent Christian 7 

Baptist General Conference of North America 6 

German Baptist 1 

Seventh-Day Baptist 4 

Swedish Baptist 9 

Evangelical, Free 5 

Christian and Missionary Alliance 28 

Evangelical Missionary Covenant 23 

Associated Reformed Presbyterian 9 

Free Methodist 13 

Wesleyan Methodist 7 

Evangelical Congregational 3 

Moravian 3 

Presbyterian Church in Canada 1 



SCHOOL (1942) 

1. a. Forms of worship and religious ceremonies (study and practice) 

twenty-five (25) hours; 
b. Pastoral duties. 

2. Leadership demonstration — ten (10) hours. 

3. DiscipHne: courtesies and customs of the service — ten (10) hours. 

4. Rules of land warfare — ten (10) hours. 

5. Military law — fifteen (15) hours. 

6. Military hygiene and first aid — fifteen ( 15 ) hours. 

7. Topography — twenty (20) hours. 

8. Graves registration — fifteen (15) hours. 

9. Military correspondence and surveys — fifteen (15) hours. 

10. Money and property accountability — fifteen ( 15 ) hours. 

1 1 . Investigation, interior guard duty — five ( 5 ) hours. 

12. Field service regulations, equipment, organization of the Army — ten 
(10) hours. 

13. Recreation, education, music, etc. — five (5) hours. 

14. Offices of Division, corps, and Army chaplain demonstration, cooper- 
ation and supervisory duties — ten (10) hours. 

15. Army morale — ten (10) hours. 

16. Defense against Chemicals — fifteen (15) hours. 

17. Close order drill and conditioning exercises — thirty-five (35) hours. 




SCHOOL (1945) ^ 

The following is a breakdown by hours of the three-month course of 
instruction "designed for chaplains who are to remain in the post-war 
Regular Army." 


Practical Duties 70 

Drill 60 

Organized Athletics 70 

Administrative Chaplain 30 

Staff Procedure 13 

Army Organization 15 

Army Administration 40 

Military Law 28 

Army Morale 25 

Counseling 30 

Graves Registration . 5 

Chemical Warfare 3 

Music Appreciation 8 

Customs and Courtesies 15 

Military Sanitation 12 

Map Reading 40 

Special Lectures 6 

Commandants' Time 10 


'Letter from Chief of Chaplains to Commandant 19 October 1945, RG 247, Entry 1, Box 
269, 352 Chaplain School, The National Archives, Washington, D.C. 




1. Chaplain (LTC) Cephas C. Bateman 13 May 1920— 

14 March 1921 

2. Chaplain (LTC) Joseph L. Hunter 15 March 1921— 

11 February 1925 

3. Chaplain (MAJ) William R. Arnold 12 February 1925— 

12 March 1928 

4. Chaplain (COL) William D. Cleary 2 February 1942— 

31 January 1945 

5. Chaplain (COL) Maurice W. Reynolds 1 February 1945— 

7 December 1945 


246-684 O - 78 - 15 



1. Camp Grant, Illinois April 1920— September 1921 

2. Camp Zachary Taylor, September 1921— September 1922 

3. Fort Wayne, Michigan September 1922—1924 

4. Fort Leavenworth, Kansas 1924 — 1928 

5. Fort Benjamin Harrison, February 1942— August 1942 

6. Harvard University, August 1942— August 1944 

7. Fort Devens, Massachusetts August 1944 — July 1945 

8. Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia July 1945 — December 1946 









1. Alspaugh, Robert E. Lee. Captain 

2. Antonucci, Ralph A Captain 

3. Barron, Theodore W Captain 

4. Bell, Hoke S Captain 

5. Blakeney, Charles S Captain 

6. Bonner, Peter E Captain 

7. Brady, Thomas T 1st Lt. . 

8. Clary, Edward J 1st Lt. . 

9. Cleveland, Arthur V Captain 

10. Colgan, Aquinas T Capitan 

11. Contino, William S 1st Lt. . 

12. Cummings, William T. . . 1st Lt. . 

13. Czubak, Anthony E Captain 

14. Dawson, William Major. . 

15. Day, Norris E Captain 

16. Dieffenbacher, Arthur J. . 1st Lt. . 

17. Doyle, Neil J IstLt. . 

18. Edelen, Philip B 1st Lt. . 

19. Falter, Clement M 1st Lt. . 

20. Fowlkes, Paschal D Captain 

21. Fox, George L 1st Lt. . 

22. Gilmore, Joseph A Captain 

23. Goode, Alexander D 1st Lt. . 

24. Goodfellow, Rollin Captain 

25. Gravely, Horace E 1st Lt. . 

26. Griggs, Clarence W. . . . . . Captain 



16 Jan 




5 May 




29 Dec 




10 Apr 




2 Sep 




28 Jul 




22 Jul 




15 Jul 




15 Dec 




6 May 




3 Mar 




15 Dec 




22 Jan 




15 Dec 




7 Sep 




5 Jul 




15 Jul 




10 Jun 




8 Nov 




24 Mar 


O 485 


17 Apr 




2 Jun 




17 Apr 




1 Dec 




7 Feb 




12 Apr 









27. Hagan, Clarence J 1st Lt. . 

28. Haley, Percy E Captain 

29. Hampton, Edwin W 1st Lt. . 

30. Hand, Francis E Captain 

31. Hansen, Raymond J Captain 

32. Kilbert, John R 1st Lt. . 

33. Kimball, Clyde E Captain 

34. Koskamp, Rowland A. . . . Captain 

35. Lafleur, Joseph V Captain 

36. Lenaghan, Arthur C . . . . . Captain 

37. Liston, James M 1st Lt. . 

38. Lynch, Lawrence E Captain 

39. McDaniel, Harley R 1st Lt. . 

40. McDonnell, John J Captain 

41. McKnight, Thomas E. . . . Captain 

42. MacDonald, Ernest W. . . Captain 

43. Maternowski, Ignatius P. . Captain 

44. Monoghan, Owen T Captain 

45. Monre, Edwin U 1st Lt. . 

46. Montgomery, Harry Captain 

47. Munro, Keith B Captain 

48. O'Brien, James W 1st Lt. . 

49. O'Grady, Eugene P Captain 

50. O'Toole, Myles F Captain 

51. Poling, Clark V 1st Lt. . 

52. Rasetzki, Dietrich F 1st Lt. . 

53. Reagan, Thomas H Lt Col. . 

54. Rechtsteiner, Leo G Captain 

55. Rounds, Erie F 1st Lt. . 

56. Savignac, Valmore G. . . . 1st Lt. . 

57. Scecina, Thomas J Captain 

58. Schwer, John Wm Captain 

59. Shaw, James R Captain 

60. Stanton, Loren L Captain 

61. Steel, John R Captain 

62. Stober, Henry B Captain 

63. Stump, Clarence G Captain 


0-553 473 
0-499 097 
0-553 341 
0-385 280 
0-464 313 
0-523 437 
0-415 638 
0-517 319 
0-413 977 
0-443 418 
0-462 733 
0-428 150 
O-507 061 
0-23 619 
O-480 972 
0-441 522 
0-532 213 
0-477 811 
O-340 867 
O-406 259 
0-415 524 
0-513 309 
0-477 425 
0-525 810 
O-20 415 
0-513 893 
O-203 298 
0-477 261 
0-384 964 
0-529 000 
0-475 301 
0-511 823 
0-435 366 
0-356 936 
O-540 976 

6 Jan 

26 Nov 

18 Dec 

14 Oct 
11 Jun 

27 Oct 

19 Dec 

5 Apr 

7 Sep 
7 Jan 
7 Feb 

24 Apr 

26 Nov 

22 Jan 

9 Feb 

7 Feb 

8 Jun 
7 Apr 

20 Jan 
3 Mar 

15 Aug 

24 Oct 

29 Nov 
19 Jan 

17 Apr 

25 Jul 

18 Dec 
22 Oct 
22 Dec 

7 Feb 
24 Oct 
13 Aug 

30 Jul 

26 Mar 

6 Jun 
15 Dec 

21 Nov 








64. Teem, Arvil E 1st Lt. . 

65. Tepper, Irving Captain 

66. Ternan, Dominic 1st Lt. . 

67. Tiffany, Frank L Captain 

68. Turner, Guy H 1st Lt. . 

69. Tyler, Barret L Captain 

70. Vanderheiden, Joseph G. Captaip 

7 1 . Verret, John J Captain 

72. Vincent, Clarence A 1st Lt. . 

73. Wallace, Eunace A Captain 

74. Washington, John P 1st Lt. . 

75. Wilder, Quintin M 1st Lt. . 

76. Youngdahl, David H Captain 

77. Zerfas, Mathias E Captain 

0-435 027 

12 Feb 


O 435 123 

13 Aug 


O 442 928 



O-306 297 

24 Oct 


0-494 909 

29 May 


O 411 815 

15 Mar 


0-414 242 

15 Dec 


0-477 243 

8 Jan 


- 0-543 340 

13 Mar 


0-414 003 

16 Feb 


0-463 529 

17 Apr 


0-526 617 

15 Jan 


O 448 376 

7 Feb 


0-382 274 

15 Dec 




(1 July 1943-30 June 1944) 

Religious Services 1,644,032 

Attendance 99, 701, 108 

Communion and Sacramental Occasions 1, 035, 236 

Participants 12,952,956 

Guardhouse and Hospital Visits 1, 206,892 

Pastoral Activities — Functional Occasions 9, 865, 263 

Pastoral Contacts — Persons Reached 86,515, 160 

Civilian Communities — Functional Occasions 360, 421 

Contacts — Persons Reached 28, 551, 651 




Ahlstrom, Sydney E. 

A Religious History of the American People. New Haven: Yale Uni- 
versity Press, 1972. 

Amoury, Daisy. 

Father Cyclone. New York : Julian Messner Inc., 1958. 

Anderson, Stanley Edwin. 

Shepherds to 24,000,000 Service Men. Butler, Indiana: Highley 
Press, 1954. 

Axton, John Thomas Jr. 

Brief History of Chaplains in the US Army. Fort Leavenworth, 1925. 

Barish, Louis J. 

Rabbis In Uniform. New York : Jonathan David Publishers, 1962. 

Bennett, Ivan L, (editor). 

The Hymnal Army and Navy. New York: A. S. Barnes and Com- 
pany, 1941. 

Bennett, Ivan L. 

Songs and Service Book for Ship and Field, Army and Navy. New 
York: A. S. Barnes and Company, 1941. 

Brasted, Alva Jennings. 

Service to Servicemen. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg Publish- 
ing House, 1941. 

Brasted, Evelyn. 

Soldier of God. New York: Carlton Press, 1971. 

Bureau of Service to Military Personnel National Lutheran Council. 

By Their Side. Washington, D.C. : Bureau of Service to Military Per- 
sonnel National Lutheran Council, 1971. 

Burgett, Donald R. 

Curaheel. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1967. 

Butler, Orvid. 

Youth Rebuilds. Washington: The American Forestry Association, 

Chapman, Robert B. 

Tell It To The Chaplain. New York: Exposition Press, 1952. 


220 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

Chester, Joseph. 

Dorchester: Greenland Pioneer. Pubhshed Privately, 2001 S. 16th 
Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1969. 


Christian Science Publishing Society. 

The Story of Christian Science Wartime Activities 1939-46. Boston, 

Mass.: The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1947. 
Connelly, Kenneth A. Jr. 

Chaplain's Assistant. Seattle: Craftsman Press, 1945. 
Cross, Christopher. 

Soldiers of God. ISlewYork: D.P.Dutton, 1945. 
Dehoney, Wayne. 

Disciples In Uniform. NzishviWe: Broadman Press, 1967. 
Dennis, Clyde H. 

Ten Thrilling Stories from the World's Battlefronts. Chicago : Good 

News Publishing Co., 1943. 
Eisenhower, Dwight David. 

At Ease. Pleasantville, New York: The Reader's Digest Assn. 1967. 
Franklin, John Hope. 

From Slavery to Freedom. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974. 
Ginzberg, Eli. 

The Negro Potential. New York : Columbia University Press, 1956. 
Grant, Dorothy Fremont. 

War Is My Parish. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: The Bruce Publishing 

Company, 1944. 
Grosevenor, Gilbert M. 

We Americans. Washington: The National Geographic Society, 

Haggerty, James Edward. 

Guerrilla Padre in Mindanao. New York : Longman, Greene & Com- 
pany, 1946. 
Hickcox, Percy Merriman. 

Mine Eyes Have Seen. Boston : Mosher Press, 1950. 
Holman, C. T. 

Personal Problems of Men In the Armed Forces. New York: Army 

and Navy Department, Young Men's Christian Associations, 1944. 
Honeywell, Roy J. 

Chaplains of the United States Army. Washington, D.C. : DA Office 

of the Chief of Chaplains, 1958. 



Huie, William Bradford. 

The Execution of Private Slovik. New York: Delacorte Press, 1970. 

Hutcheson, Richard G., Jr. 

The Churches and the Chaplaincy. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1975. 

James, George F. 

Eleven Years of CMTC. Chicago: Military Training Camps Associ- 
ation of the United States, 1931. 

James, George F. 

Fifteen Years of CMTC. Chicago: Military Training Camps Associ- 
ation of the United States, 1 935. 

James, George F. 

The Story of the Camps. Chicago : Military Training Camps Associ- 
ation of the United States, 1926. 

Jorgensen, Daniel B. 

The Service of Chaplains to Army Air Units 1917-1946. Washing- 
ton: Office Chief of Air Force Chaplains, 1961. 

Kertzer, Morris Norman. 

With an H on My Dog Tag. New York: Behrman House, 1947. 

Korson, George Gershon. 

At His Side. New York: Coward-McCann, Inc., 1945. 

Leonard, Adna W. 

The Chaplaincy from the Standpoint of the Government and the 
Church. Washington: Methodist Commission on Camp Activities, 

Maker, Richard T. 

For God and Country: Mormon Chaplains During WW IL Brigham 
Young University : Thesis, 1975. 

Manchester, William. 

Chaplains of the Methodist Church in World War II. Washington: 

Matloff, Maurice. 

American Military History. Washington : Office of the Chief of Mili- 
tary History, 1969. 

McLuskey, J. Fraser. 

Parachute Padre. London: Student Christian Movement Press, 
Methodist Church (United States) Commission on Chaplains. 

Chaplains of the Methodist Church in World War II, Washington: 
Methodist Church Commission on Chaplains, 1948. 

222 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

Miller, John G. 

Saints and Parachutes. 'London: Constable Publishers, 1951. 

"The Military Chaplaincy, A Report to the President." Washington, 
D.C.: The President's Committee on Religion and Welfare in the 
Armed Forces, 1951. 

Nance, Elwood C. 

Faith of Our Fighters. St. Louis: Bethany Press, 1944. 

National Lutheran Council. 

By Their Side. Washington: Bureau of Service to Military Personnel 

National Lutheran Council, 1947. 
Nelson, Ralph Waldo. 

Soldier, You're It! New York : Association Press, 1945. 
Nygaard, Norman Eugene. 

Strength for Service to God and Country. New York: Abingdon- 

Cokesbury, 1942. 
Oliver, Alfred C, and Dudley, Harold M. 

This New America. New York: Longmans, Green and Company, 

O'Neil, James H. 

The True Story of the Patton Prayer. Washington: US Government 

Printing Office, 1950. 
Poling, Daniel A. 

Your Daddy Did Not Die. New York : Greenberg, 1 944. 
Price, Lucien. 

Religion of the Soldier and Sailor, "Between Two Wars", Edited by 

Willard L. Sperry, Volume IL Cambridge: Harvard University 

Press, 1945. 

Proehl, Frederick C. 

Marching Side by Side. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 

Proehl, Frederick C. 

Service Manual for Lutheran Chaplains. Chicago, Illinois: Army 
and Navy Commission of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Mis- 
souri, Ohio, and other states, 1942. 

Rittenhouse, William H. 

God's POW. NewYork: Greenwich Book, 1957. 



Salmund, John A. 

The Civilian Conservation Corps 1933-1942 ; A New Deal Case 

iS^wc^}'. Durham, N.C. : University Press, 1967. 
Sampson, Francis L. 

Look Out Below! Washington: The Cathohc University of America 

Press, 1958. 
Shanks, David Carey. 

As They Passed Through the Port. Washington: The Gary Publish- 
ing Company, 1927. 
Society for the Propagation of the Faith, 

The Priest Goes to War. New York : The Society for the Propogation 

of the Faith, 1946. 
Spellman, Francis J. 

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224 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

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226 THE U.S. ARMY CHAPLAINCY— 1920-1945 

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